17. Final draft: Iceberg Dialogue

Revising a Cross-Cultural “Iceberg” Dialogue

Directions:  One interesting form of anecdote or scene is “cross-cultural.”  Here are suggestions about how to revise your own to make it work just right for your own paper:

  • Work on getting your conversational interaction between the participants to sound completely natural according to their identities and to the unique situation in which they’are involved.
  • Include helpful clues, but don’t spell everything out for the persona who will be reading your paper.
  • The reader of your dialogue should feel like, “Hey, I’ve heard something like this before.” It should sound authentic and not be so weird that no-one would be able to tell what might be going on underneath (the iceberg).
  • If your paper is meant to be instructive, then make sure you write a preface or an explanation afterwards, which reveals what’s going on in terms of underlying cultural, personal, or universal social relationships.


Dance Card


A:  I heard Hana’s takin the card, congrats!

B:  Yeah, it’s gonna be here in LA, but not till spring.

A:  How’d they meet?

B:  They haven’t actually met yet.


In many countries, for example Asian and Middle-Eastern, arranged marriages can still be the norm, even though major cultural shifts have occurred.  As a result, a couple may never meet face-to-face before the marriage ceremony.  One way that is beginning to creatively change is through technology as couples sneak one another photos, videos, and long talks on smart phones.  In addition, in some countries such as the U.S., a couple may have a long interaction through online dating sites and social media and even decide to get married before ever having a face-to-face encounter.  Finally, both for old-time and some current slang, your “dance-card” means potential partners or a set romantic relationship, including marriage, like accepting someone’s request for a dance.

Your Turn:  Now, look at your own cross-cultural dialogue and rewrite it, developing the dialogue even more, and including a carefully-written, post-explanation.