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21 September 2020

Posted by Tabby Hayward

FRIENDS AND STRANGERS

Number of participants: 11

Today, building on the characters we created last week, we were exploring dialogue. 

To begin with, as a recap (and for anyone who wasn't here last session), we took either our character from last week, or a character used in a previous story/piece of writing, or a brand new character, and wrote down:

1) 3 ways the character would describe themselves

2) 3 ways the character's best friend would describe them

3) 3 ways a stranger would describe them

We talked about any overlaps between these 3 descriptions, and any things which were really different between them (e.g. Hiba said that her character was overly modest about her skills, whereas her friend was more enthusiastic, etc)

Over the course of the workshop, we then wrote 2 scenes of dialogue for a script:

The first scene was between our main character and their best friend/someone really close to them. 

Before we began, we went over how to set out a piece of dialogue in the format of a script. We also discussed how you might be able to show in the dialogue that these characters know each other really well and are comfortable with each other. We talked about how we talk to our own close friends, and anything from this we could use in our scripts (e.g. inside jokes, interrupting/talking over each other, informal language, not overly explaining things, making fun of each other - in a nice way! - etc).

The idea was for the main character to be sharing a story/secret with their best friend.

I showed an example (below) - and then we were off!



CHARACTER
A:
So I was walking
back through the park, right, and you know those living statue things

CHARACTER
B:
Oh not again!

CHARACTER
A: (annoyed)
What
do you mean ‘not again’, this just happened today!

CHARACTER
B:
I mean not
another conspiracy theory! First it was all Lollipop Ladies being robots. Then
it was marshmallows making you fail History. And now/

CHARACTER
A: (frustrated, standing up)
So A) I didn’t say they were making me fail History, I
said they were making me struggle to hear in lessons, and B) just hear
me out, right! This one is real. I swear.

After sharing some of the brilliant pieces with the group - including Kira's dialogue between 2 friends, one of whom is convinced there's a dinosaur under his bed, and Charlotte's dialogue between 2 friends who know each other so well that they're able to predict what the other is about to say! - we then moved on to our second scene.

This time, our main character was trying to share the same secret/strange story with another character - but this time this person was a stranger/someone they had just met. 

Again, we talked about how you might speak differently to someone who hardly knows you than to someone who you are really close with (e.g. more formal language, less ease with the other person so more pauses/breaking off/awkward silences, more need to explain yourself, etc).

Again, I showed an example (below) - and then the young writers got to work!



CHARACTER
A:
So should I just/

CHARACTER
B:
Oh yes, start
away. Whenever you’re ready. (mechanically) We’re ready to hear –
your – story.

Beat.

CHARACTER
A:
Umm – okay.
Great.

Pause.

CHARACTER
B:
Whenever you’re
ready.

CHARACTER
A:
Yeah I just –
where to begin, I just – I guess maybe with – this is actually quite difficult
to/

CHARACTER
B:
Though we do only
have 30 minutes on the clock. (looks at watch) Now 26.

There were some more excellent pieces to share, including Elsie's dialogue between a girl and her aunt, who she doesn't really know, and Evie's dialogue between a Hare investigating a pet-shop breakout, and a Cat, who the Hare suspects of being part of it! 

For all the scenes, the audience responded with applause (and applause stickers!), and many compliments in the chat!

Next week, we will be working on poetry - see you then!

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