Dialog as an Element of Voice

Effective dialogue is important not only in fiction, but also in non-fiction. Journalists use as many quotes as possible. In fact, telling the story with quotes is the goal of journalism. As I said before, detail is important, but at the same time, readers are not reading your story because they think you are a great writer. They are reading because they want to be told a story. The way to tell a story effectively to minimialize the detail discussed in the application and to use dialogue.


To practice, or to learn to write dialogue, make an appointment with the Alton L. Wilmer Writing Center for an interactive tutorial on dialogue.

Directions for tutorial

Log onto the Lynchburg College Acavax system with the tutor. Type your name, password and then type HELLO at the prompt. At the next screen, type the email address of the tutor. When the tutor answers, he will begin a conversation with you:

"So how do you like working on-line like this?" asked Allen.

"I feel kind of weird working on-lne lik this said Jae.

"Jae, I think you left something out of your sentence. See if you can figure out what it is," said Allen.

"Oh, I see it. I spelled like wrong, and line too. Also, I forgot a comma and quotation marks after this," said Jae.

"What are you planning to do this weekend," asked Allen.

"I'm going to go hiking this weekend. It should be alot of fun," said Jae.

"Where are you going to go?"

"I think we are going to the Blue Ridge mountains."

"Who are you going with?"

"I'm going to go with some friends and we are going to hike around for a few days."

"Jae, what did you forget to put in the last sentence?"

"A comma?"


"Ummmm. Oh. I see. I needed to put one between the word, friends and the word, and."

"And why is that?"

"Because I was combining two independent clauses with the word and."

So you see, you can talk about anything during the tutorial, but two things are happening here. On the surface, "Jae" is able to generate dialogue and correct his mistakes by following the tutors example.

Created by Allen Campbell