Grammar, Writing

Introduction to Dialogue Writing

by VIDYANAND

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What is a Dialogue? 

A dialogue is a conversation between two individuals on a topic understood and related to by both. It is an exchange of thoughts and opinions on any kind of topic or issue. A dialogue may either aim to form a concurrence of thought or differentiate one’s point of view from the others. 


Format of a Dialogue

A dialogue does not have any distinct format. However, some rules need to be followed in order to avoid confusion while pairing a statement with its speaker.

When the names of speakers are not mentioned, the dialogues should be written within quotation marks.

Example:      

  • “I have an appointment today.”
  • “What time is it?”

In such cases, attributions like he said, she replied etc. should also be included.

Example:      

  • “I do not trust that man,” he said.

An attribution when used at the beginning of a sentence should always be followed by a comma (,).

Example:      

  • She said, “This is the clue we were looking for.”

When names of the speakers are included, they should be followed by a colon mark (:).

Example:      

  • Rita:   How may I help you?
  • Mr Rao:          Could you tell me the way to the boardroom?

Every time the speaker changes, a new line should be used.

Example:      

  • Mother:           What time will you be back?
  • Sara:  The class will get over by 4, so I should be home by 4.30.
  • Mother: I may not be home when you come, but I will make some snacks for you before leaving.

Tips for Writing a Dialogue

  • A written dialogue should appear spontaneous; therefore, do not include elaborate sentences. 
  • While writing a dialogue, ensure that thoughts are expressed clearly.
  • Make a short outline at the beginning so that all important points are given sufficient credit.
  • Arrangement of ideas in the logical sequence is equally important. Jumping back and forth with thoughts makes the piece appear immature.

Sample Dialogues

Sample 1

Bank Manager: Good morning! Please come in. How may I help you?
Rohan Singh:Good Morning! I would like to open a savings account with your bank, but I find the process very confusing.
Bank Manager:Please take a seat. The process is very simple actually. All you have to do is fill a savings account opening form and submit it with photocopies of your ID proofs and two passport-sized photographs.
Rohan Singh:Which ID proofs should I get along?
Bank Manager:We will need one photocopy each of your ration card, pan card and Aadhar card. 
Rohan Singh: Ok, that sounds easy. Where will I get the account opening form?
Bank Manager: The clerk sitting at the desk opposite the cash counter will give it to you.
Rohan Singh: What is the minimum deposit amount for opening an account?
Bank Manager:For savings account, it is only 500 rupees. However, this amount cannot be withdrawn unless you wish to close your account permanently. 
Rohan Singh: What are the other facilities that I would be provided if I open an account?
Bank Manager:  Apart from your cheque book, SBI will provide you with an ATM/debit card, internet banking and phone banking facility. 
Rohan Singh: Thanks a lot! You have really simplified the procedure for me. 
Bank Manager: The pleasure is entirely mine.

Sample 2

Mother: Looks like you had a lot of fun at school today. How was the Christmas party?
Priya:It was truly spectacular mother. The children from the primary section enacted the Christmas story at the assembly.
Mother:Oh! That must have been really beautiful.
Priya:It was! Not only that; after a short speech by our school leader on the significance of Christmas, the school band played carols on their instruments. Mumma, you should have heard them, for a moment I felt like the heaven had come down to Earth.
Mother:That does sound exceptional. I understand what you mean. Your school has the reputation of excelling in whatever it does.
Priya:Yes mumma, it was! After that we went to our class. There we played games with our teacher. It was great fun. We also had crib making and classroom decoration competitions.
Mother:So, they kept y’all busy the whole day. Did they give y’all any snacks to eat?
Priya:Yes, they gave us Fruity, samosas, wafers, cake and chocolates. I got many gifts from Santa Claus as well. He kept throwing them in all directions.
Mother:Well Priya, I’m glad that you had so much fun.
Priya:That I did, wait mumma there is more. I forgot to show you the gift I got. Every standard received a different toy. We received Brainvita. Playing this game is so much fun.
Mother:So, I see you opened it in school itself.
Priya:Yes! Everyone did. We were so engrossed in it that we did not even realise when the bell rang at the end of the day.
Mother:That’s very nice. Be sure to thank your teachers when you go to school next for all the effort they put in.

Sample 3

Dr Shastri: This is the third time in two months you have come to me complaining of stomach ache,
Jitesh. Have you been eating frequently from outside?
Jitesh: I have my lunch from the school canteen, doctor. 
Dr Shastri: How is the food in taste and appearance? 
Jitesh: The food tastes good, except that it is spicy sometimes. Often, it is soaked in excess oil. 
Dr Shastri: No wonder you are falling sick so often, Jitesh! Eating spicy food regularly upsets your digestive system. Does the oil in the food smell abnormal? 
Jitesh: I don’t know really. But yes, my throat often aches after eating a meal that had excess oil. 
Dr Shastri: That is due to the poor quality of oil being used to make the food. Jitesh, you should stop eating from the canteen at once. If possible, eat home-cooked food and for a few weeks only eat light meals. 
Jitesh: Okay, doctor. What can I include in my diet for the next few days?
Dr Shastri:Have home-cooked food with minimum spices. Avoid over intake of fibrous foods as they are heavy to digest. Have plenty of water and fruits. In a couple of weeks, your system will be back to normal. 
Jitesh: Thank you, Doctor. I will avoid eating from outside henceforth. 
Dr Shastri: Yes, you should. Here are your medicines. In addition, please also engage in light exercise once a day so that you remain fit. 
Jitesh:  I will do that, doctor. Thank you for your time and consultation. 
Dr Shastri:Take care and get well soon, Jitesh! 

Sample 4

Satish: Excuse me, what is your name sir?
Beggar: My name is Dinesh Kumar. Why do you ask? You don’t need my name to curse me.
Satish: I do not wish to curse you, Mr Kumar. I never saw you here before. You intrigue me; therefore, I want to know more about you. Who are you and why are you begging here?
Beggar: I cannot recollect the last time somebody called me by that name. 
Satish: Tell me something about yourself.
Beggar: You know my name. Many years ago, I used to be a successful businessman dealing in scrap metals. The business was booming and I was surrounded by friends. I got married to a woman I loved and she bore me two children. I was a very good father fulfilling every desire my children had.
Satish: What changed that?
Beggar: I had a daughter and a son. When they got married, things started changing. Both of them vied for my business and property which I bequeathed to them. Once my son had control of my business, he ousted me. My daughter too, whom I gave my palatial house, threw me and my wife out.
Me:      Where did you go from there?
Beggar: My friends deserted me since I had no money. So, I begged for a living making enough to buy us two meals a day. My wife eventually succumbed to illnesses leaving me all alone in this world. At this age, I cannot beg. Sometimes I wait for death to catch up with me.

Sample 5

Reporter: Hello, my name is Mr Thomson. I am a reporter for IBN and would like to meet Mr Jack.
Secretary: Do you have an appointment?
Reporter: I do not have a formal one, but I spoke to him on the phone and he said that I could come today. 
Secretary: You will have to wait for some time since Mr Jack is in a meeting right now. 
Reporter: How long will the meeting last?
Secretary: It should be over in about 15 minutes.
Reporter: That’s fine with me.
Secretary: Would you like some tea or coffee?
Reporter: No, thanks for asking. 
Secretary: You’re welcome. Please have a seat. I will let you know as soon as he is free.
Reporter: I appreciate your cooperation. 

Sample 6

Sushant:Hello! May I speak to Mr S. Kaushik?
S.Kaushik:Yes, who is this?  
Sushant: Hello Sir. My name is Sushant. I saw the advertisement of your activity club in today’s newspaper and would like to enquire more about it.
Mr Shah: Oh yes! We have recently opened an activity club for children of all age groups. I will be able to explain it to you further if you can tell me what exactly you are looking for? 
Sushant:My son has a lot of free time, and since both my wife and I are working we would like to enrol him in a creative club. 
S. Kaushik: We would be happy to oblige. What would you like to know?
Sushant:First, where exactly are you located?
Mr Shah: Our club is located on the ground floor of Pravin Apartments which is about 2–3 minutes’ walk from the Santa Cruz railway station.
Sushant:Okay, could you give me some more details of the place?
Mr Shah: We have converted a 1BHK flat into our club area furnished with colourful toys and other amenities. We also have a large garden at the back which can be accessed only through our flat.
Sushant:The place sounds safe enough. What activities do y’all teach?
Mr Shah: We teach all forms of dance, singing and craft. It’s an extensive list. I suggest you visit us once since it is impossible for me to list everything we do on a call.  
Sushant:Okay, I will do that. Thank you for the information. I will call you back once I make up my mind.

Sample 7

Anjua: Hi Shweta, what a pleasant surprise! It’s a pleasure seeing a school friend after so many years.
Shweta: Indeed it is. How are you and what have you been up to?
Anjua: I am great. Do you remember the paintings I made for pleasure in school?
Shweta:Yes I do, and I always told you what a great artist you would be one day?         
Anjua: Well, I guess you were right there.
Shweta: What do you mean? 
Anjua:  painter. After college, I studied painting from J. J. School of Art and today I am a professional
Shweta: Oh really? That’s great news. I never doubted your potential.      
Anjua: I know, and I believe that the confidence you showed in me was one of the factors which encouraged me to conquer my dreams. 
Shweta:Don’t flatter me. This is all the fruit of your hard work.
Anjua: I am not. Believe me. I never considered my drawings of any consequence. It was you who saw the talent in me and gave me the boost I needed. 
Shweta: Well then, I guess I deserve a treat. 
Anjua: You deserve more than that, but a treat is surely in order.
Shweta:     Let’s have coffee.

Sample 8

Omkar: Hey what are you doing? Would you like to come out to play?
Arvind: No. I’m a little busy right now. I’m writing a story for tomorrow’s storytelling competition.  
Omkar: You have been working on that since the last week. How much more will you edit it?
Arvind: It’s a suspense story, Omkar. It has to be perfect or else it will lose its charm.
Omkar: That is true, but I have full faith in your skills. After all, you have been winning this competition since so many years now. 
Arvind: That’s true. But that does not give me a reason to be careless with my work, does it?
Omkar: Yes you are right, but over doing it is also dangerous, don’t you think? 
Arvind: What do you mean?
Omkar: I mean you are so focused on this competition that you are neglecting every other thing like food, play and your studies.  
Arvind: I guess you have a point, Omkar. Come on, let’s go out.
Omkar:Finally! Let’s go. 

Sample 9

Pooja:Hello! My name is Pooja. Can I speak to you for a moment?
Police Officer:Yes, how may I help you?
Pooja:I have a robbery to complain.
Police Officer:What exactly happened?
Pooja:My handbag was stolen in the local market this afternoon.
Police Officer:Describe your handbag and give me a list of any important belongings which it contained.
Pooja:My handbag is blue. It had my cell phone and about three thousand rupees.
Police Officer:Is that it? Did it have any other things? 
Pooja:Nothing of much importance. But I need my cell phone; the data in it is extremely important to me
Police Officer:I will look into the matter and see what I can do. Did you see the thief?
Pooja:Yes, I noticed that he was of average height, middle-aged and wore a dirty grey  shirt. He had medium tangled hair and a small bruise over his right eyebrow
Police Officer:Will you be able to recognise him if we find them?
Pooja:I think so.
Police Officer:Okay then. We will call you when we get a lead on him.
Pooja:Thank you!
Police Officer:You’re welcome!

Sample 10

Teacher: Rani, are you ready for the interschool history quiz?
Rani:  No Miss, I am not. I had jaundice last month, and therefore, I couldn’t prepare for it.
Teacher: You are our best student, Rani. You have to participate. How long will you take to prepare.
Rani:  Miss, please give me some extension. I am working on it, but I need some more time.
Teacher: Rani, I would love to give you time. But I’m sorry I cannot; the date for the quiz is finalised by the principals of all the schools participating. 
Rani: I would really love to participate, but I am not prepared and it will be wrong on my part to spoil the school’s name this way.
Teacher: I appreciate your dedication. Also, I am confident that you will be able to do well. You just need to work a little harder. Besides, we are here to help you. Feel free to approach any one of us whenever you need. 
Rani:  Thank you for your support, Miss. 
Teacher: You are most welcome. Work hard and make us all proud. 
Rani:  I’ll try my best, Miss. Thank you once again.