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Hi i'm new here (1 Viewer)

Hello there.

I'm thirty four, I live in a seaside town called Bangor in Northern Ireland (Lovely place) with my wife (We're not married but after sixteen years she's more than earned the title.). I like motorcycles, cricket, comic books, actual books and I play classical guitar very badly.

Favourite Comics - The Dark Knight Returns, The Watchmen, The Nocturnals
Favourite Books - The Greatest Show of Earth, War of the worlds, Weaveworld
Favourite Bands - Korn, Deftones, The Orb
Favourite Films - Anything with a creature in it, I like a creature.

Why I’m here (On this forum, not just in general):
I've never really thought of being a writer but here's what happened. I'm a computer programmer by trade and I sometimes develop games in my spare time. I started to write a basic story for a large game project I was planning last year and before I knew it I was writing dialog and planning a timeline and other things that go way beyond the scope of any game plot. Then I kind of forgot about it for a while as I was busy doing other things and at the time I didn’t take it seriously anyway. So I got a slipped disk in my neck a while back and had to spend a couple of months sitting very still and while I was looking through the files on my laptop I found the fledgling story. Being unable to move I sat and read through it and found I quite liked it so again I took to writing.
I'm back doing my tedious programming job now but while I was off I amassed a full eleven chapters, a lot of it is rough as I find it easier to let it all flow out and then redo bits I’m not happy with later but I’m quite pleased with it overall.

I now need help on proper punctuation and other technical issues, its amazing how many books I have read and how little of the technical stuff I have actually taken in.

That’s about it, if you think this is overly long its not because I’m self obsessed, its just that I can't be bothered doing any more work today so I’ve got some time on my hands.


Senior Member
Welcome indeed, Cap. Balrog. I realy should read WOTW... I read a watered down children's version of it in gradeschool which scarecly does it justice.
Thanks people, its good to be here :0)

In answer to your question Non Serviam, I’m not too clear on how to write dialog from the point of view of paragraphs and punctuation. Currently most of what I’ve written is just something spoken in double quotes followed by a space and then a description, I’ve started to realise there’s a bit more to it than that. I really should have learned about this stuff before I wrote a lot of dialog but that’s me all over, I tend to leap before I think. Seriously though, being a computer programmer I’ve spent years writing this sort of thing:
public class boring {public boring(bool getalife){bool gotalife = getalife;}}

So any useful resources you can point me too would be much appreciated :0)

P.S. I would recommend war of the worlds to anyone regardless of their personal taste, it’s the only book I’ve read more than twice :0)

Non Serviam

WF Veterans
Dialogue formatting 101:

NB--this is for people who spell 'colour' with a 'u'. People who speak American have slightly different rules.

Start a new paragraph every time the speaker changes.

Look carefully to see where the punctuation goes.

'-------,' said John.
'-------,' said John, '--------.'
John said, '---------.'

'------?' asked John.
'------?' asked John, '-------?'
John asked, '--------?'

'------!' said John.
'------!' said John, '-------!'
John said, '--------!'

Always close the quote marks after speech unless the same speaker goes on for several paragraphs. This should be rare.

Other formats are possible, including the American-style double quotes (") around speech--although less than half of material published in Commonwealth English uses that. Rarely, the trailing comma is occasionally placed outside the quote marks. If you do that once, you have to do it all the time--don't mix styles.

The only other rule (as opposed to guidelines, for which there are several more) is: Do not follow a guideline off a cliff!


'So how do people talk?' he asked.

'Like this. In fragments, I mean,' she replied.

'Don't people go, um, ah, er a lot? And interrupt each other?'

'In real life, yes. In stories that doesn't work so well.'

'So in stories, people don't talk like they do in real life?' he said.

'No. Dialogue in stories always has to move the story, show character, elaborate on a theme, or have some other definite purpose.'

'Anything in particular to avoid?' he expostulated.

'Yup. Avoid what we're doing now,' she interjected. 'Said-bookism always rings false. Just use 'he said' or 'she said', or 'replied', or 'asked' for most dialogue tags. And a lot of the time you don't even need those.'

'And what about adverbs?' he asked inquisitorially.

'Whether you're writing dialogue or not, adverbs almost always blow goats,' she said assertively.

'What about dialects?'

'Whut, aer yew arsking if'n it's okay tae mak' wi'th'silly spellings fer accents 'n' sich?'

'Hmm. Sounds like the answer is no,' he said.

'Not unless you're really good, and even then, it needs quite a light touch.'

'Okay, thanks!' he said, and walked away.
LOL. Thanks mate that was both informative and entertaining, I never new that about adverbs. :grin:

Looks like I have a fair bit of correcting to do with the dialog.

I don’t mind though, I haven't even read the last few chapters since they were written so it should be interesting.

Non Serviam

WF Veterans
LOL. Thanks mate that was both informative and entertaining, I never new that about adverbs. :grin:

Yeah, adverbs and the word "was" are the two big bugbears of beginning writers. ;)

You can almost always write a stronger sentence by cutting adverbs and any version of the verb "to be" ("is", "am", "are", "was", "were") out of your writing and replacing them with a stronger verb. Look:

It was raining heavily --> Rain slashed down.
It was very dark --> Darkness closed in.
She was quite tall --> She loomed.
The man walked slowly down the street --> The man sauntered down the street.