1. Hello, My Name is:
“Susan, how are you?”
“Awesome, Carol. How are you?”
“So awesome, Susan. Have you seen the new book by Kelly Harms, Susan?”
“No, I haven’t, Carol. Do you think it’s any good?”
“No, Susan, I don’t. Not unless she got a really good editor.”
2. Play-by-Play and Color:
“Hi again, Carol! I’m just going to go turn on this light in the closet and look in here to see if I have anything for your clothing drive.”
“Great, while you do that, I will take off my hat and gloves.”
“Super. Hey, look, I do have this wedding dress I don’t want anymore. My husband left me because he said I described everything I do whenever I speak. I will pick it up now and hand it to you.”
“Thanks! I’ll take it from you now and put it in my car.”
3. Exposition, Exposed:
“Oh, Susan, that brown hair color looks great on you. Clearly you are thriving ever since your husband left you last year during the charity clothing drive.”
“Thank you, Carol. I see you have not lost the weight from your failed stint as a restaurant reviewer that you tried after getting fired at your job in event planning. Did that angry chef ever return your Apple brand laptop?”
4. Fancy Taggin’:
“You know what I miss? I miss when people used to just say things,” Carol sighed woefully.
“Me too, Susan.” Carol parroted. She paused for a moment, then amended, “Still though, it is nice to know exactly how something gets said. You know, adverbs do have their place,” she added thoughtfully.
“Sure, but at what cost?” queried Susan meditatively.
“What cost indeed,” echoed Carol pensively.
5. The Party Line:
“Susan, you are the best. Through thick and thin–literally–you’ve always been there for me.”
“You too, Carol.”
“You too, Francine.”
“You guys are all the best. Thanks for your support as I learned to be a slightly less awful dialogue writer, especially you. You were always there for me.”
“You who? Does anyone know who she’s indicating here?”
“You, of course. Thanks a lot. Really. I’m not being sarcastic.”
“Wait. Does anyone here know who is even talking right now? I’m not even sure who I am at this point. If my opinion ever starts to differ from my peers in this conversation, the reader is going to be totally lost.”
“Totally lost. I have no earthly idea what’s going on anymore. I mean, if we were real, I would see someone’s lips moving, and we wouldn’t need dialogue tags. But we are totally not real. We’re fictional characters. We need dialogue tags. Just not onerous ones.”