Goals in Dialogue
All conversations center around a topic. The topic may change over time, but typically there is one focus at any given time. In turn, every character participating in the conversation has a goal in mind. Typically a dialogue goal will center around information, either trying to learn, impart, or conceal information. For example, two characters in a car might debate whether to take the highway or stay on back roads. The focus of the conversation is determining which route they’ll take.
Medium to High Complexity
Medium to High Importance
Debates are a little more intense, a little more conflict driven. Where a focused conversation has at least one invested character, debates have at least two, each with their own position. Debates are, in many ways, a median between focused discussion and argument. A focused discussion may transition into debate on the way to becoming an argument, just as an argument may downgrade to a debate or even a focused discussion.
Now we’re getting into more straightforward aspects of dialogue: intentions, goals, and perspective/opinion.
Stories are driven by conflict, and dialogue is no different. When writing a piece of dialogue, recognize what conflicts exist, and what their underlying cause(s) are. For example, here are 4 common source of conflict in dialogue:
1. Different plots engage the same question/issue.
One of the most prevalent issues in the Harry Potter series is the issue of prejudice. Audiences first encounter it through the Dursleys and their treatment of Harry. Because of Harry’s magical parentage, the Dursleys malign and mistreat Harry. Ironically Harry’s other main antagonists, Voldemort and his followers also begrudge Harry because of his heritage, but in their case they feel that he is “not magical enough”, since he is born of a muggle born wizard (his mother).