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Thursday, April 21, 2022

Dialogue in Journalism

With the old journalism, quoted dialogue was short, relevant but not necessarily dramatic. Eye-witness accounts gave credibility to recitation of facts, and if there was dramatic fall out, so much the better. But now we narrative nonfiction writers search for dialogue that will add drama, that will build excitement while staying glued to facts. Often, it's extended dialogue, long passages or a series of shorter, uninterrupted passages that tell a story in the character's own words. We use this dialogue, not to modify the facts but to present the facts. The character tells us the story (or a significant portion of it) in their words, and the result is building drama.

William Noble in The Portable Writers' Conference, edited by Stephen Blake Mettee, 1997 

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