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Teacher Tips and Answers

Revising Historical Narratives

Once you draft your historical narrative, take a break and come back to it to see it freshly. When you revise, you make sure the people, places, and events are clearly described and the writing captures the story in a vivid way. These activities will help you revise.

Revising to Add Dialogue

Dialogue refers to the words spoken by characters. Even though you might not know the exact things people said in the past, you can still add dialogue to your story. The trick is to use words and language that make sense for the time period.

  • Too modern:

    “Chill out,” said Meriwether Lewis. “We got this.”

  • More realistic:

    “We must remain calm,” said Meriwether Lewis. “The task is attainable.”

Add dialogue.

Use the tips and examples to help create dialogue for your historical narrative. Revise existing dialogue to make it sound realistic. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

  • Create a conversation between two characters.

    “Which direction do you favor, Captain Lewis?” asked Clark.

    “You have navigated us this far,” I responded. “I trust the south branch will keep us on the Missouri.”


  • Use language that represents the time in history.

    “Captain Lewis, might that be the Great Falls?”


  • Use dialogue to help move your story along.

    “We shall navigate the south branch farther and will not return until we reach the Great Falls,” I said.


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