Short Story Hand In

To hand in your short story:

– Post your highlighted short story on your blog

– Share link to your Short Story Post in the comments section below

– Hand in paper copy of the self evaluation.


Formatting Dialogue


  • Punctuation is always inside the quotation marks
“                                  ,”
“                                  .”
  • Never use two periods in one sentence.
“I went to the store.”


“I went to the store,” he said.

  • Interrupted Quotes:

“I think,” he said, “that it will be fun.”


“I think it will be fun,” he said.  “More fun that last time.”

  • New Speaker=New Paragraph

Thinking about Dialogue

Discuss the dialogue that you overhead:

1.    Talk about the process of eavesdropping: 

       i.      Where did you go?

      ii.       How long did you listen to conversation?

      iii.      Who was it between?

      iv.      How did it feel to be recording the conversation?

2.    What insights did you gain about the way people speak?
3.    How can you apply this to your writing?
4.    How is personality and character revealed through conversation/dialogue?
5.    What happens when more than two people participate in a conversation?
6.    What was the most surprising thing you’ve learned about the way people converse?
7.    What are the differences and similarities between written and spoken conversations?
Finished assignment = 350 words. Post it here in the comments, and on your blog.

Mini-Lesson: Dialogue

The best way to learn about how to write dialogue effectively, is to go out and observe dialogue in it’s natural habitat! Your mission is to go out into the school and eavesdrop in on a conversation. Listen to the conversation for about 10 minutes, record the content and your observations.  Make your notes as specific as possible as we will be debriefing as a class upon your return.

Happy Creeping!

Mini Lesson: Narrative Leads

Looking for a way to start your short story?  According to one of my favorite writing teachers, Nancie Atwell, there are three ways you could start an engaging narrative:

* Action: A Main Character Doing Something
I gulped my milk, pushed away from the table, and bolted out of the kitchen, slamming the broken screen door behind me. I ran down to our dock as fast as my legs could carry me. My feet pounded on the old wood, hurrying me toward my dad’s voice. “Scott!” he bellowed again.

“Coming, Dad!” I gasped. I couldn’t see him yet—just the sails of the boats that had already put out into the lake for the day.

* Dialogue: A Character or Characters Speaking
“Scott! Get down here on the double!” Dad bellowed. His voice sounded far away.

“Dad?” I hollered. “Where are you?” I squinted through the screen door but couldn’t see him.

“I’m down on the dock. MOVE IT. You’re not going to believe this,” he replied.

* Reaction: A Character Thinking
I couldn’t imagine why my father was hollering for me at 7:00 in the morning. I thought fast about what I might have done to get him so riled. Had he found out about the way I talked to my mother the night before, when we got to camp and she asked me to help unpack the car? Did he discover the fishing reel I broke last week? Before I could consider a third possibility, Dad’s voice shattered my thoughts.

“Scott! Move it! You’re not going to believe this!”


Keep in mind that this is also a helpful guide for the rest of your narrative.  For instance, you could start with an Action lead, but then follow it up with a reaction paragraph and then several dialogue paragraphs!  Writing a whole short story doesn’t feel quite as daunting when you break it down into paragraphs. . . .