Wednesday, 14 October 2009

An exercise from a workshop on Writing Effective Dialogue

I attended a workshop on Writing Effective Dialogue at the Birmingham Book Festival last weekend. For the the first exercise the tutor played a recording of a normal conversation and asked us to write our own interpretation. This is what I wrote.


Sarah pushed open the heavy door, reached in and pulled at the light cord. The room gradually filled with a dull glow.

“It's big,” said Stephen. “Am I the only one using it?”

“Yes, it's all yours.”


“It used to be the morgue.”

“Ah, that would explain the strange smell.”

Sarah walked almost 30 feet to the end of the room and pressed a couple of buttons on the control panel that was fixed on the wall. Stephen heard the slow hum of the air conditioning as it started up.

“That should clear it in a few minutes,” Sarah said when she got back.


“You can rearrange the tables any way you like.”


“When you've finished just make sure you get them to complete those forms,” she said pointing to a pile of papers by the water dispenser in the corner.


“We've put your stuff is in that cabinet and I'll bring your people up in half an hour or so. Would you like a cup of tea?”

“Yes please, milk no sugar.”

“OK, I'll leave you to it and get one send down.”

“Great,” said Stephen as he walked to the cabinet in the corner and struggled to remove a large black leather bag.