Adding Direct Speech in your Compositions
By middle primary (P3), most students would have been told by their teachers to pepper their compositions with some direct speech. In fact, direct speech is one of the more common ways for students to begin their compositions with.
However, many students do not know how to use direct speech in their compositions. So, they write things like:
"Hurray!" the children cheered.
"Yay!" said Tom.
"Yippee!" said Mary.
More than just "Hurray!" or "Yay!"
For direct speech to be effective in a piece of composition, it should be used meaningfully.
I often ask my students, what do you mean by "Yay!" or "Yippee!" Does it give your readers any clue as to what your characters were doing or thinking?
We do not write direct speech for the sake of writing direct speech.
How to write meaningful direct speech or dialogue
There is a simple way of making your direct speech meaningful.
All you need to do is to add an action or a feeling after the direct speech.
Let's take a look at the following sentences.
DIRECT SPEECH 1
"Bye, mum!" Sally said.
DIRECT SPEECH 2
"Bye, mum!" Sally said, as she gave her mother a gentle peck on her cheek before running off to school.
Now, which direct speech is more meaningful in a story?
Definitely, direct speech 2.
In direct speech 1, all we know is that Sally said bye to her mother. We have no idea where she was going or why she was saying goodbye. That is what I mean by writing a direct speech for the sake of writing one. Unfortunately, that is the way many students begin their compositions.
In direct speech 2, we know why Sally said bye to her mother and where she was going. That gives meaning to the direct speech.
Let me show you a few more examples of adding actions or feelings after a direct speech, to make it more meaningful.
"Let's go to the park!" exclaimed Kenny.
"Let's go to the park!" exclaimed Kenny, attaching the leash to the collar of his puppy, Cookie. (Adding an action)
"Oh no!" groaned John.
"Oh no!" groaned John, as his mother handed him a huge stack of assessment books. (Adding an action)
"I'm sorry, Dad," Alex said.
"I'm sorry, Dad," Alex said, feeling remorseful for what he has done. (Adding a feeling)
"Where are we going today, grandpa?" Ryan asked.
"Where are we going today, grandpa?" Ryan asked in anticipation. (Adding a feeling)
"Hey Max! Do you want to join us?" asked Sean.
"Hey Max! Do you want to join us?" asked Sean enthusiastically, holding a basketball in his arm. (Adding a feeling and an action)
"I can't believe this is happening," muttered Jamie.
"I can't believe this is happening," muttered Jamie, tears welling up in his eyes as he walked into the hospital ward. (Adding a feeling and an action)
The key to writing meaningful direct speech
Make your direct speech (or dialogue) meaningful by simply
1. Adding a FEELING after the direct speech
2. Adding an ACTION after the direct speech
3. Adding both a FEELING and an ACTION after that direct speech.
It is that simple.
Try it and make your stories more engaging and meaningful.