Time for another installment of BOOTCAMP! This month we will focus on dialogue tags, a subject I covered earlier this month. The goal of today’s game will be to see how different tags can affect dialogue.
Lesson 8: Dialogue tags
Dialogue tags serve to indicate who’s speaking in a written text, which is important when a large group of characters are involved in a scene; the more people taking part in a conversation, the greater the need for dialogue tags to identify the speakers.
The tags are usually composed of at least one speaker and a verb in order to accomplish their purpose. However, we can also use them to help accentuate dialogue, control tension, clarify information or describe actions.
The goal of this writing exercise will be to take the two offered scenarios and their corresponding conversations and add dialogue tags to them. If you want to make things interesting, come up with at least two different sets of tags for each scenario, which will change the conversations tone while staying true to their original theme.
So here are today's guidelines!
- Below are two scenarios to work with.
- Following each scenario is a short conversation.
- Write tags and punctuation for each line of dialogue.
- The tags must help reflect the tone and subject of the scenario.
Ana is sitting in a hospital bed, typing away on her laptop. She has spent the last few days in intensive care, recuperating for a serious injury. Ana notices John entering the room to visit her. Even though John saved Ana’s life, he was also responsible for the accident that injured her in the first place.
- John: Hey Ana
- Ana: Come in John
- John: How are you feeling
- Ana: Well, right now I don’t know if I should kiss you or kill you
- John: I’m sorry
- Ana: Don’t be, not like it was entirely your fault. Besides, I’d be dead right now if it weren’t for you
John is sitting at a table in a coffee shop, working on a school assignment on his laptop. His friend Evan arrives, looking like he was out partying all night, and takes a seat next to him. John is trying to concentrate on his work while Evan tries to start a conversation.
- Evan: What have you been up to. You said you’d come by my place.
- John: Sorry Evan, I have to finish this assignment. It’s due by Friday.
- Evan: So. You still have 4 days to work on it.
- John: Today is wednesday, that party was two days ago.
- Evan: Oh yeah.
- John: Besides, I’m almost done, I just need to read through it again and check for mistakes.
- Evan: So what you’re saying is that you’re done, just to anal to let it go.
For those who aren’t afraid to share their entries, feel free to submit your backstories as a reply to this post, or send them to me privately. I may create a new page on my blog for submissions.
Remember, this is a game, so no posting bad comments about other people's entries. Hope you have fun giving this exercise a try. Until next time!