View Full Version : Advice for Dialogues

November 28th, 2014, 05:54 PM
One of the flaws I've seen with most people is dialogue. Personally what I find most irritating in dialogues, is when the author uses big words in order to impress the reader. With that, you have ten-year old children talking as if they got a degree from Harvard.
Apart from that, of course, there is the infamous 'said' fault, when people use the word 'said' way more often than they should. While that is not the mark of a good writer, I also think that constantly using words which are not 'said' also is a mark. It shows the writer trying to desperately show off his great vocabulary, like I mentioned earlier.

That's all that I can think of right now. I'll give more advice when I think of them. If y'all have any advice, don't hesitate to post it.

John Galt
November 28th, 2014, 07:14 PM
"said" is invisible, which draws greater attention to the spoken word(s). Alternatively, other words usually draw attention. Depends on intention. Said is often a swear word to new writers and they try to purge every use, which is not necessarily the best thing. One could also use neither by tying the dialogue with an action, or just omit "said" when in a duologue, or when a character has a speech-related quirk (eg using big words constantly)
In fantasy, many writers write the dialogue fully ("I do not" as opposed to "I don't") which isn't natural. Using big words for a ten-year old is not a no-no, I would say, if that's part of the character's quirks.
Using flawless grammar in speech is pretty unrealistic too. Most people end with prepositions in daily conversation, for example. (though, "ending in a preposition" isn't incorrect, say many grammarians)

November 28th, 2014, 08:14 PM
"Said" is just fine.

What I dislike is when characters are stating, screaming, interjecting, proposing, shouting, exclaiming, offering, proffering, claiming, and blubbering so much that you can't understand what they just said. Sure, it's fine to do such stuff when it's important or natural that it be done. But, for all other times, just having "said" it is enough.

November 28th, 2014, 09:10 PM
Apart from that, of course, there is the infamous 'said' fault, when people use the word 'said' way more often than they should.

Never encountered it before, unless you're talking about writers who don't know how to get rid of dialogue tags completely.

The use of a word depends on the narrative situation it's placed in, not the frequency of its occurrence in the text. It's a qualitative, not quantitative issue, and I've seen most writers misuse words used in place of 'said' far more than they misuse the word itself.

November 29th, 2014, 09:14 PM

August 20th, 2016, 05:59 PM
My contributory tip: Try reading aloud.

August 20th, 2016, 06:01 PM
sorry, to add on, maybe even do a dramatic reading to close friends/family. stuff that doesn't make sense (like using big words or a tone that doesn't fit the character) will definitely stick out like a sore thumb ;).