Directions: Choose ONE of the exercises listed below—either option #1 OR option #2. Homework should be at least 2 pages in length.
Below are a couple of exercises that will help you explore the complexities, difficulties, and pleasures of writing dialogue.
OPTION #1 (sense study)
Step 1: Take a silent walk around your neighborhood, campus, mall, etc. with a notebook and writing utensil. Walk through buildings, stores and outside. Use your senses to observe any detail you may notice (objects, noises, patterns, rhythms, repetitions, people). Use all of your five senses.
Listen, look, feel, taste, and smell. As you observe, write down each item in random order on your notebook page. Don’t analyze it yet; just notate it. Enjoy observing. Take your time. Don’t rush.
Optimally, you should do this step for at least 20 minutes.
Step 2: Return to you work space and select your top ten favorite items. On a separate sheet of paper, write down why you selected those ten items.
What made you notice them? What made them stand out from all the others?
Step 3: Pick one item out of the ten and, on another sheet of paper, write a story (a page or two) about that object. Feel free to make any leap from the item you selected to a personal memory, or another story you may have heard about. Freely associate that object with a story or image that pops into your head. Write that feeling, image, or association down.
OPTION #2 (eavesdropping)
Step 1: Go to a popular social hangout (restaurant, student union, bus/train terminal, mall, etc.) and discreetly listen in on the conversations of strangers around you. Try not to be noticed! Otherwise, people stop speaking naturally.
Step 2: Write down conversations in notebooks. At your own discretion, you may also tape record the discussions and then write it in your notebook later. It’s important that you write down the dialogue, though.
Step 3: Choose one of the passages that would make for good theatrical dialogue.
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