Writing 101, Day Seven: Give and Take

Focus today’s post on the contrast between two things. The twist? Write the post in the form of a dialogue.

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Write a post based on the contrast between two things — whether people, objects, emotions, places, or something else.

Remember those “compare and contrast” essays in composition class, in which you’re forced to create a clunky juxtaposition of two arguments? Just because that particular form was a bore doesn’t mean that opposition has no place in your writing.

Bringing together two different things — from the abstract and the inanimate to the living and breathing — creates a natural source of tension, and conflict drives writing forward. It makes your reader want to continue to the next sentence, to the next page. So, focus on your two starkly different siblings, or your competing love for tacos and macarons, or whether thoughts are more powerful than words, or…you get the idea.

Today’s twist: write your post in the form of a dialogue. You can create a strong opposition between the two speakers — a lovers’ quarrel or a fierce political debate, for example. Or you could aim to highlight the difference in tone and style between the two different speakers — your call!

If you’d like more guidance, check out these ten tips on writing solid dialogue. In case you’re intimidated by dialogue tags — all those “he said,” “she whispered,” etc., here’s a useful overview.

Emulating people’s speech in written form takes practice, and creating two distinct voices could help you see (and hear) the different factors that play into the way we speak, from our diction and accent to our vocabulary and (creative?) use of grammar. (We’ll discuss the topic of voice more formally later in the course; for now, take a stab at writing dialogue on your own.)

Need a helping hand? Head to The Commons.

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  1. Just curious…

    How do you proofread or edit your posts? I really don’t like to have mistakes in my posts. I read and reread, but it seems like as soon as I publish and even hours later if I read again I find a mistake or two. This drives me CRAZY!!

    Does anyone have any tried and true methods to share?


  2. Here’s my dialogue post (better late than never 😉 ):

    Any and all comments are welcome. Especially I’d like to know whether there is a “talking heads” effect – shoould I hve described the surroundings and the people more, or is it okay like it is? Feedback is hugely appreciated. 🙂 Also if anyone has a comment on the language, since English isn’t my first language. Thanks!


  3. Not sure where to start on this one. But determined to get caught up tonight, so I think I will go for something simple ish
    This one is a big issue between the two of us. I am not sure if this is what we were suppose to do but this is what popped in my head. Let me know if you have issues like this as well. Also let me know if there needs to be more detail. It is really late and my eyes hurt so it is hard to focus.