Now listen to part of a lecture in a creative writing class.
Professor: As writers, you want the dialogue in your story to have impact. Well, there are many ways to do that, and I'm gonna talk about two of them—exaggeration and understatement. Now, understatement is the opposite of exaggeration, but you can actually use them both to do the same thing—to create emphasis or impact. Let's compare them and see how they do that.OK, exaggeration. When you want your characters to emphasize a point, you can have them describe things or their feelings as bigger or more extreme than they really are. For example, your main character comes back from a very long walk and she's very tired. Well, you can have her say "Boy, I'm tired." Or you can have her say, "I can't take another step." Well, of course she can take another step, but you see, if she exaggerates, she'll make her point in a more forceful and interesting way.But you can also create emphasis with understatement, and like I said it's the opposite of exaggeration, but it does the same thing. With understatement you emphasize by saying, by saying less, by saying less than you mean. That sounds paradoxical, so I'll give you an example from real life.My friend Ed is a very talented cook. So last week he cooked me a delicious meal. Now, I could've said to him, "This food is really great, Ed," but that's kinda boring. Plus, Ed knew I thought the food was delicious. I'd eaten three servings. So instead I said, "This food's not bad, Ed." Now clearly the food was a lot better than not bad. But by understating, by describing the food as—as less good than it really was, I actually made a stronger statement. The characters in your stories can do this too.
Using the examples mentioned by the professor, describe two ways that writers create emphasis when writing dialogue.
In the lecture, the professor describes exaggeration and understatement as two ways to create emphasis or impact. For example, if you want your character to emphasize that she is tired, you can have her say "I can't take another step." Instead of "Boy, I'm tired.”, which is more interesting and forceful. Although understatement is opposite to exaggeration, it can create similar emphasis. The professor take his experience for example. Last week, his friend cooked him a great meal. In order to made a stronger statement, he said "This food's not bad, Ed." By understating, he successfully emphasize the delicious taste of the food.