He Said; She Said: Conflict in Dialogue

OBJECTIVE: Students Will Be Able To use dialogue to propel plot and convey emotion
BY writing dialogues about a specific conflict in script form.

Your task: Write a dialogue in SCRIPT FORM where two characters argue about a borrowed object.

Create the script on a Google Doc. After you get a draft done (a page or two of dialogue) get some feedback from at least 2 peers. They should add their comments under your draft with their names included. Edit according to peer suggestions.

There are lots of ways to do script form, but for our purposes, do this:
Greasy Sae: Once it’s in the soup, I’ll call it beef.
(Notice that the speaker’s name goes at the margin, followed by a colon. No speaker tags like “said” “shouted” “coughed” etc.)
4 Steps to Creating Your Dialogue

  1. Brainstorm — Imagine two characters who are roommates. Write down their names. They can be any age, any gender — they don’t even have to be human (Talking apes? Aliens? Dolphins? Demons from ethereal plane?) They can be siblings or spouses, or maybe their status is “complicated.’ You can brainstorm with a peer if you can’t think of anything.
  2. Brainstorm — Imagine a stressful situation that these roommates are in together. (Landing a plane in a blizzard, performing an exorcism, performing a trapeze act in a circus, whatever. go crazy!)
  3. Brainstorm — Imagine an object that one roommate has borrowed from the other. The other roommate is really ticked off about it. (Maybe it was borrowed without permission or maybe it wasn’t returned on time. Or maybe it broke.)
  4. Draft — Develop a dialogue where these two individuals argue about the borrowed object DURING the stressful situation. (Ex: Two surgeons argue about a borrowed set of golf clubs while they attempt to separate a pair of conjoined twins. Or a singer and a guitar player or an MC and a DJ argue about a microphone during a stadium show with 40, 000 fans.)

Dr. Belzer: I managed to separate their subdermal cortex, but their blood pressure is falling! If I can’t stop the bleeding, I might not be able to save these conjoined twins. Nurse Jones, clamp.

Nurse Jones: So are you planning on returning this clamp or are you just going to keep it like you do with everything else?

Dr. Belzer: What? Nurse Jones, we are in the middle—

Nurse Jones: Because when you borrow something permanently, Marty, that’s called stealing.

Dr. Belzer: Wipe the blood off my face shield. I can’t see! What are you talking about, Gladys? Help me close the clamp. Forceps!

Nurse Jones: Here let me wipe that. Better? I’m talking about my seven iron, Marty. You borrowed my seven iron a month ago and you still have it.

Dr. Belzer: What? The club is in my car. That’s not—Look at those numbers! If we can’t get Ed and Fred’s pressure down, they’re going to go into cardiac arrest!

Nurse Jones: If only you were this worried about returning my things, Marty.

Dr. Belzer: Do you really think NOW is the best time—

Nurse Jones: Would you prefer to wait until after my tournament next Saturday?

Dr. Belzer: Ed and Fred are flatlining! They are going to die if we don’t defibrillate!

Nurse Jones: Good thing nobody borrowed the crash cart.

Tonio Favetta is the author of Falling From the Ground, a Y/A SciFi adventure. He also teaches high school English.

Posted in Teacher Resources

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