Writing Prompt: A Memorable Conversation

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Father and son

Think about the most memorable conversations you’ve ever had. What made them mean so much to you? Was it the person you were speaking to or the subject you discussed? Maybe a little of both? If you had to pick the most important conversation of your life, what would it be? How about the funniest? The saddest? The most exciting? The most eye-opening?

This assignment is to recreate a highly memorable conversation.

In other words, you are going to write an autobiographical scene involving dialogue. Here are some important things to remember:

  • Feel free to make things up. You can stick as close as you like to what you can remember, or you can use some poetic license. You obviously won’t be able to remember every word exactly as it was spoken, so do the best you can and fill in what you have to.
  • DO NOT write in dramatic format. In other words, write dialogue as it would appear in a novel or a short story. It should be in paragraph form, not written as lines for a play.

Like this:

Dad looked at me with that ambiguous grimace and said, “Where were you tonight?”

“Just hanging out with the guys, Dad. Why?”

“Because I just got a phone call,” he paused deliberately, “from the police.”

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Not like this:

Dad:             Where were you tonight?

Me:            Just hanging out with the guys, Dad. Why?

Dad:             Because I got a phone call…from the police. 

  • Let the dialogue do the talking. Don’t do much explaining, but feel free to briefly describe setting, mannerisms, gestures, and so on. Use dialogue tags where necessary. Emphasize the dialogue, but don’t limit yourself to it. This is a class on exposition, not creative writing. Try to make the communication clear.
  • Before you submit the paper, be sure you have used correct paragraphing and punctuation. A few things to remember:
    • In a dialogue, start a new paragraph every time the speaker changes.
    • Quotation marks go around the actual words spoken by the characters.
    • Periods and commas go inside the quotation marks. Check here for more punctuation rules for dialogue.

*****

Leave your comments below!

About the Author

Brian Wasko

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of WriteAtHome.com. One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

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