Story Prompt #22

Dialogue Prompt:

“Why do you get mad every time I call you a ‘friend’?”

“We might of stopped the Evil Overlord together but that doesn’t mean I like you.”

“I have Nana’s homemade apple tarts.”

“Give me five and you’ll have the privilege of calling me ‘friend’ for a day.”

“Deal.”

Diagonal Dialogue

Hello Fiction Lovers!

First I would like to apologize for not getting this posted yesterday. My internet stopped working and I didn’t have a way to get to a place that had internet and was still open by the time I had a chance to write.

As for the topic for today lately I’ve been thinking about “diagonal dialogue”. It’s a term I first heard in one of my writing classes. It’s what happens when characters are talking to each other but not neccessarily answering what the other is saying. Instead they are responding to what the actual problem is or what’s important to them. For example, when Character A keeps complaining about how pretty another character is and Character A’s friend forces them to face their insecurity. Or when one character wants to stay and the other character wants them to leave and both are pretending to talk about different character, propriety, candy, or anything else, really.

Diagonal dialogue isn’t lying (though that can have it’s own interesting implications and uses) but is instead when the topic of conversation isn’t what’s actually as important. The important thing is the tension between the characters as they try to lead the conversation in the direction they want it to go–the tension that’s created by what they choose to say and what’s left unsaid.

I find that when I try to write diagonal dialogue the conversation becomes more interesting and gets closer to the  heart of the story. It helps to create better dialogue becuase it doesn’t allow the characters to talk about nothing, becuase even if they are only talking about the weather on the surface other clues show that more is at stake. An important thing to remember is that dialogue isn’t just things that are said but includes body language as well, and diagonal dialogue makes use of both (as any good dialogue should).

Of course, not all conversations between characters have to use diagonal dialogue, but making use of it now and again can be a good exercise and can help characters approach topics that otherwise would be too painful or awkward and such to broach.

Let me know if you have any questions and I hope you all enjoy the rest of your day!