Hampton Roads Writers


"STOP, or I'll shoot." Annabelle would have shot him without hesitation, without moral compunction, without flinching, but he moved so incredibly fast, like a child fleeing from his belt-wielding mother, that all she would have gotten was a piece of the door jamb. And he just wasn't worth either the bullet or the time and trouble it would take to repair the doorframe.

  • A character named Annabelle said the line. But who is she, and to whom did she say it?

  • Where was this line spoken?

  • What time was it?

  • What set the speaker into motion?

  • Based on the narrative voice of the speaker, provided in the beat that follows the dialogue, what do you "know" about the speaker's personality?

  • As you answer these questions, start freewriting a scene. Try to let the dialogue carry the story as it pushes the plot foward.

    AS A CHALLENGE, don't allow your characters to call each other by their names in the dialogue and don't use dialogue tags (he said, John said). Use well crafted beats to orient the reader as to the speakers' identities, to advance the plot, and to develop the characters.


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