Dialogue Workshop

What interesting EVENTS happened this week? Do any of the events jump out at you? Do any of the events have a backstory? List the events, as many as you can, for 5 minutes, then choose one event to work with today.

List and Choose

Write down everything you remember that was said.


Now, write down what happened, but without people speaking.


Now that you have a collection of an event, dialogue, and events, collect them and put them in order.

What happened, step-by-step?



  1. yhosby says:

    Sounds like a fun activity to do. I’ve noticed most conversations are quite interesting, especially when people talk about the most random topics. I don’t wanna hear “how’s the weather?” Let’s talk about “Do you believe in aliens?” or “If you could be any dinosaur, what would you be?” πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gail Menius says:

      That’s a really important point when talking about writing dialogue for fiction. It needs to have the “illusion of reality” without being as boring as real dialogue πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ibokthewriter says:

        I think this is an excellent exercise; however, the first step is confusing. In the first step, are we supposed to write dialogue, or just what happened? The direction under the box seems like dialogue, but the example seems like what happened.

        Having the examples, and further instruction, above each direction helped me understand what to do for steps 2-4.


  2. I love this! Listing the five events reminds me of Matthew Dicks’ exercise he calls Homework for Life. I can see how working on the dialog in these varied ways would help you fill out what might be a minor event into an actual story.


    1. Gail Menius says:

      Thank you so much, Priscilla. Dialogue is the trickiest of tasks, in my opinion, because you mix and match it with other elements out of necessity. Dialogue doesn’t stand alone, does it?!

      I like doing this exercise because at least I have a list of things that were said and things that happened! Once I have that list, I feel ready to mishmash flashbacks, metaphors, and deep point of view.

      Also, I’m watching homework for life now πŸ™‚ Thank you.


  3. Mariana Perri says:

    Working with Gail has improved my writing! Not only does she make the writing process fun, but she also works through the most difficult steps with you!


    1. Gail Menius says:

      And writing with you has made me more accountable πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for being there.


  4. Heather McC says:

    Neat exercise, I think the ‘transcribe’ portion would be my favorite to do. I like the concept of writing without stopping or editing, now I just need to start again….

    Liked by 1 person

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