I'm teaching creative writing workshops, in which we read short stories with examples of literary elements to better understand how to use them in creating stories. For the most part, it has been straightforward when finding resources for short stories that show great uses of theme, characterization, symbols, etc.

I've noticed, however, that I've run into an issue when searching for resources that show examples of short stories with great uses of dialogue. Thus, I was wondering if anyone knew of any such resources?

  • 1
    J.D. Salinger’s short story collection ‘For Esme - with Love and Squalor’ springs to mind. The American title is ‘Nine Stories’, so I’ve heard.
    – sudowoodo
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 13:05
  • @sudowoodo Would you like to convert your comment into an answer? Or I can add it to my answer, as it was also a resource the other writers recommended to me. Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 18:26
  • Yeah, I only left this as a comment because I wasn't prepared to write a full answer explaining why I suggested it :P So sure - you can add it to your answer.
    – sudowoodo
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 20:38

3 Answers 3


I spoke with a few professional authors & playwrights, who also happen to teach creative writing workshops, and these were the short stories they recommended:

Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway

Popular Mechanics by Raymond Carver

Trial by Combat by Shirley Jackson

A Telephonic Conversation by Mark Twain

For Esmé—with Love and Squalor by J. D. Salinger


one of the main resources which is considered in any writing workshop, is Anton Chekhov's short stories.

you can also teach dialogues through them, However they are a little bit old-fashioned. but surely they would be helpful.
you can use Plays too. which are full of dialogues.

However you should choose simple plays as a start.
many of plays are philosophical and confusing. like Rhinoceros (Eugene Ionesco).

I would also recommend Haruki Murakami's short stories.
(some of them are very surreal; like "The strange library", be careful about them, they don't help you teach dialogue)


'Meat' by Terry Bisson. I discovered this today and it's great - it's entirely dialogue, but I didn't notice that the first read through, I was so engaged with it. http://www.terrybisson.com/page6/page6.html

I am also taking extracts of vlog posts by editors about what not to do with dialogue, and extracts from an interview with Aaron Sorkin (I know screenwriting is different, but he has some usable points and his dialogue is riveting).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.