Dialogue


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  1. #1

    Dialogue

    I don't speak very much, to many people.. so I don't know how well I'll be able to write out dialogues.
    I use the word "said" a lot, and the other words such as "replied", "asked", and "yelled", but I just don't feel like I'm writing this correctly.
    Sometimes I even leave out the word that is supposed to show who is speaking since I've seen this done in the books I've read..
    but I just don't feel like I am able to demonstrate a realistic sounding conversation.


    When I am reading dialogue, there are some other things that confuse me, too..

    Like sometimes when one character has a lot to say at one time, I will notice that their dialogue starts out with a parentheses at the beginning, and there won't be a parentheses at the end.
    Is this to say that they are making a monologue or something?

  2. #2
    If there's a new paragraph in the middle of a monologue, then (1) a paragraph is not closed with a quotation mark, and (2) the new paragraph begins with a quotation mark. I doubt many readers know that rule, so don't count it to show who's talking.

    That's an intelligent question, so I'm guessing you've been studying. Authors are all over the place in their dialogue tags, but roughly, first choice is to avoid the dialogue tag (when it isn't needed); second choice is something simple like he said if that's all you need; third choice, use something more complicated when needed.

    I just checked Google -- there are 4 hits for the phrase "implicit dialogue tag", and I get two of them! Instead of

    "That's not going to work," John said.
    You perhaps could write:

    John shifted in his seat. "That's not going to work."
    That's one way to avoid the dialogue tag.
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  3. #3
    i don't speak very much..said alot..dude read a short piece by ray calver the man had he said she said down to a T...infuriating at times but it kind of worked on a short story level
    The only one who can heal you is you.




  4. #4
    Member Red Sonja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rune View Post
    I don't speak very much, to many people.. so I don't know how well I'll be able to write out dialogues.
    I use the word "said" a lot, and the other words such as "replied", "asked", and "yelled", but I just don't feel like I'm writing this correctly.
    Try not to worry about that too much. Get the dialog written out first and use "said" as many times as seems good to you. Go back and worry about cleaning it up later. Your idea is important: The message you're trying to relate or the story you're trying to tell. Whether you use "said" too many times is not that important, especially just starting out.

    Sometimes I even leave out the word that is supposed to show who is speaking since I've seen this done in the books I've read..
    but I just don't feel like I am able to demonstrate a realistic sounding conversation.
    If there are only two people speaking, it's not necessary to designate them until a third party joins the conversation.
    "We won't be able to get the car fixed until next week," John pointed out.

    "Then I'll have to ask Steve to take me!" Mary said, her voice heavy with implied threat.

    "Try to call him. He's not picking up."

    "He texted me yesterday."

    Ron walked into the room. "What's this about Steve not answering his phone?"

    "Mary decided to drive instead of fly to Jen's wedding," John explained.

    "Then the car broke down!" Mary fussed. (et cetera)

    Again, why worry overmuch about speaker designation? Until your message is all written out, that's of secondary concern. As long as YOU know who's talking, don't stop the music!

    When I am reading dialogue, there are some other things that confuse me, too..

    Like sometimes when one character has a lot to say at one time, I will notice that their dialogue starts out with a parentheses at the beginning, and there won't be a parentheses at the end.
    Is this to say that they are making a monologue or something?
    You probably mean quote marks instead of parentheses, I'm thinking. These are quotes: "--" and these are parentheses (--). Anyway someone just answered that part of your question while I was typing so now I don't have to!

    Your message that you're trying to deliver is always the most important thing. Don't let "said" drag you down to the point that you get discouraged and stop! Even if it seems really lame and just keeps getting lamer, just keep going until you're done.

    Learning to play a musical instrument is, as many of us can explain, a real pain in the ass. Learning to play said instrument in combo with others is even more of a pain and of course many try and fail to be able to do this. Both right and left brain are not just used in such an undertaking, they are flogged mercilessly. Writing is the same, especially good, interesting writing that people want to read.

    Your question reflects that you're at the "just learning to play a piece of music in concert with others" stage where many drop out.

    Experienced musicians will tell you: "If you are playing your show and you blow a clinker, just keep going! The audience probably won't even notice it, and the ones who DO notice it understand and won't care!"

    This is true and, as noted above, the same goes for writing.

    Or, if you've ever seen a "rap battle," you might have noticed that even experienced rappers will insert "yeah" or "on and on" or some nonsensical repeated phrase into their versifying if they can't think of anything at the moment; then (if he's any good) the rapper will think of something, jump back in, and keep going. The crowd isn't sitting there thinking "Oh, he just said 'on and on' for like a whole 30 seconds!" if what he raps after that is good.

    Don't get discouraged! Think of how lame and stupid much real-life dialog is, anyway. Right?

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