Narrative Basics Lesson 4: Speech and Dialogue

Speech as action

Making plans

Characters often need to coordinate their actions, so they make plans.

Here's an example of two characters making a plan.

Brook said, “Want to hang out tonight?”

“Sure!” I responded. “Can you come over for dinner?”

“Mm-hm. I’ll check with my mother.”

Mango DelightFracaswell HymanSource

To make a plan, essentially one character needs to either ask a question or make a proposal, and the other character needs to give a response.

(If you think about it, making a plan is a specific way of asking questions and giving information.)

Again, we learn a lot from what characters make plans about, who they make plans with, and how they talk to each other.

In this snippet, the characters are clearly friends, and everything is pretty chill so they are planning something minor—but not all relationships and plans are like that. Some relationships might be hostile or excited, some plans might be a big deal, and so on.

Here are some examples that follow similar plan-making patterns.

“What will we do about lions and bears during the night?”

“We will sleep in the branches of that tree.”

“And if they climb?”

“Then you will roar big and loud and scare them away!”

“We’ve got five minutes, so pick up as many snacks as you can,” she said, looking around the store.

“Ok, grab that trolley over there,” I replied. “Let’s make this fast!”

Your turn

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