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Dialogue Mechanics Practice 2

The following passage is a conversation between three characters, from which the

mechanics and paragraphing relating to the dialogue have been removed. How

would you arrange the sentences and punctuate them to make the conversation clear?

(Hint: Copy and paste the section into your word processing program.)

Kit drew circles on the table with the base of her soft-drink glass and said Sue and I have some great ideas for getting the singles club up and running, Ali. Alison sighed. Look, guys. I'm sorry, but you know very well I've been no more than lukewarm on the idea of  the singles club since Sue first came up with it. You're the one who suggested getting a  restaurant to sponsor it, Susannah pointed out. And that's the key to-- One suggestion  hardly makes me a fan. And I can't do a good job on a project I think is ludicrous. Oh,  really? Kit murmured. What kind of public relations person are you, anyway? We're always doing something ludicrous. If you think I want to brag about creating a bunch of dancing ducks to promote the new water park--  But you believe in the water park  Alison reminded. Doesn't matter. Besides, you can't expect either Susannah or me to do it. You're the only one of us who can, Ali. Alison sighed. Because I'm the only one of us who's still single. Exactly Kit murmured. That is completely illogical, you know. It's like saying I can't make a good video welcoming newcomers to Chicago unless I'm a newcomer, and that's just--" There was no warning this time, and the pain which racked her was by far the worst she'd ever experienced. Alison clutched at her abdomen. She'd have doubled up, but there wasn't room in the narrow booth. Susannah's gaze met Kit's. An ambulance, do you think? No! Alison struggled to sit upright. Almost automatically she said, It'll pass. Sure of that, are you? Kit sounded skeptical. It always has before. Oh, that's reassuring! How long have you been feeling this way,  Ali? Weeks, Susannah said darkly. Remember, Kit? Clear back when you started having morning sickness, Alison was-- If she hadn't been feeling so wretched, Alison would have burst into laughter at the sudden suspicion in Susannah's eyes. I'm not pregnant she managed. It's just... cramps or something. A little worse than usual, but-- I'm relieved to hear it, Ali, Kit said crisply. Excuse me for missing the occasion, but just when did you get your medical degree? She didn't wait for an answer. We're going to check this out right now. If you'll go get your car, Susannah... Susannah didn't move. Are you sure I shouldn't call the paramedics? I'm not sure of anything Kit said. But we can't ride with her in the ambulance, so we'll need the car anyway. She dug her cell phone from the depths of her handbag. Susannah nodded and hurried toward the door. Oh, for heaven's... Another wave of pain swamped Alison's voice. Kit flipped madly through her address book. I knew I should have put this number on auto-dial. I don't want an ambulance, Kit. I'm calling a friend. Alison, taken aback, could only stare at her. A friend? A friend who also happens to be my obstetrician. I told you, I'm not-- --Pregnant, I know. Well, obviously there's something wrong, and the way you're clutching your tummy makes it a good bet that you'll end up consulting somebody in that field. Besides, Logan's the only doctor I can think of who's likely to still be in his office after six on a Friday night... She turned her attention to the telephone. Hello, is Dr. Kavanaugh in? I see. Will you page him and ask him to call Kit Webster? It's an emergency. The worst of the wave had passed, and Alison could get her breath again. I'm too busy for this. I've got a video to finish... She was startled by the high, tight pitch of her voice and the panic which clutched her throat. Kit put the phone down. Exactly. And if you'd stop to think about it, Ali, you'd realize that I'm only doing this because I'm darned if I want to get stuck finishing your video. The words were tart, but her smile was warm and reassuring. Alison's panic eased a little, but the lump in her throat suddenly felt as big as the Sears Tower. Yeah, right, she said. Kitty, I don't deserve you and Sue. Can we get that in writing? Susannah said breathlessly. I'm parked on the sidewalk, Kit, so it might be a good idea if we don't hang around here much longer.

Here is the same passage as it appeared in the final version:

    Kit drew circles on the table with the base of her soft-drink glass and said, "Sue and I have some great ideas for getting the singles club up and running, Ali."

    Alison sighed. "Look, guys. I'm sorry, but you know very well I've been no more than lukewarm on the idea of the singles club since Sue first came up with it."

    "You're the one who suggested getting a restaurant to sponsor it," Susannah pointed out. "And that's the key to--"

    "One suggestion hardly makes me a fan. And I can't do a good job on a project I think is  ludicrous."

    "Oh, really?" Kit murmured. "What kind of public relations person are you, anyway? We're always doing something ludicrous. If you think I want to brag about creating a bunch of dancing ducks to promote the new water park--"

    "But you believe in the water park," Alison reminded.

    "Doesn't matter. Besides, you can't expect either Susannah or me to do it. You're the only one of us who can, Ali."

    Alison sighed. "Because I'm the only one of us who's still single."

    "Exactly," Kit murmured.

    "That is completely illogical, you know. It's like saying I can't make a good video welcoming newcomers to Chicago unless I'm a newcomer, and that's just--" There was no warning this time, and the pain which racked her was by far the worst she'd ever experienced. Alison clutched at her abdomen. She'd have doubled up, but there wasn't room in the narrow booth.

    Susannah's gaze met Kit's. "An ambulance, do you think?"

    "No!" Alison struggled to sit upright. Almost automatically she said, "It'll pass."

    "Sure of that, are you?" Kit sounded skeptical.

    "It always has before."

    "Oh, that's reassuring! How long have you been feeling this way, Ali?"

    "Weeks," Susannah said darkly. "Remember, Kit? Clear back when you started having morning sickness, Alison was--"

    If she hadn't been feeling so wretched, Alison would have burst into laughter at the sudden suspicion in Susannah's eyes. "I'm not pregnant," she managed. "It's just... cramps or something. A little worse than usual, but--"

    "I'm relieved to hear it, Ali," Kit said crisply. "Excuse me for missing the occasion, but just when did you get your medical degree?" She didn't wait for an answer. "We're going to check this out right now. If you'll go get your car, Susannah..."

    Susannah didn't move. "Are you sure I shouldn't call the paramedics?"

    "I'm not sure of anything," Kit said. "But we can't ride with her in the ambulance, so we'll need the car anyway." She dug her cell phone from the depths of her handbag.

    Susannah nodded and hurried toward the door.

    "Oh, for heaven's..." Another wave of pain swamped Alison's voice.

    Kit flipped madly through her address book. "I knew I should have put this number on auto-dial."

    "I don't want an ambulance, Kit."

    "I'm calling a friend."

    Alison, taken aback, could only stare at her. A friend?

    "A friend who also happens to be my obstetrician."

    "I told you, I'm not--"

    "--Pregnant, I know. Well, obviously there's something wrong, and the way you're clutching your tummy makes it a good bet that you'll end up consulting somebody in that field. Besides, Logan's the only doctor I can think of who's likely to still be in his office after six on a Friday night..." She turned her attention to the telephone. "Hello, is Dr. Kavanaugh in? I see. Will you page him and ask him to call Kit Webster? It's an emergency."

    The worst of the wave had passed, and Alison could get her breath again. "I'm too busy for this. I've got a video to finish..." She was startled by the high, tight pitch of her voice and the panic which clutched her throat.

    Kit put the phone down. "Exactly. And if you'd stop to think about it, Ali, you'd realize that I'm only doing this because I'm darned if I want to get stuck finishing your video." The words were tart, but her smile was warm and reassuring.

    Alison's panic eased a little, but the lump in her throat suddenly felt as big as the Sears Tower. "Yeah, right," she said. "Kitty, I don't deserve you and Sue."

    "Can we get that in writing?" Susannah said breathlessly. "I'm parked on the sidewalk, Kit, so it might be a good idea if we don't hang around here much longer."

From THE HUSBAND PROJECT Copyright 1998 by Leigh Michaels. All rights reserved.

This exercise is copyrighted material and is offered for the individual's own use. Further distribution or sale is not permitted without permission of the copyright holder. Copyright 2013 Leigh Michaels.

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