1. normalzebra
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    normalzebra New Member

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    About: Help Needed While Writing Conversations.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by normalzebra, Dec 1, 2012.

    Hi,
    This is my first post here, I am a new writer, in the sense that I have been inspired to write a tale that I came up with myself.
    Right now I am currently revising and rewriting, coming up with a better way to write what I have written. Even though I realize I am not very good at it, I feel this will only be rectified if I keep on practising creative writing.

    The reason I am starting this thread is I want help writing conversations between people. I have NO experience at all writing conversations, so I am afraid whatever I write as a conversation may not make any sense or sound outright childish.

    So, here I am asking for any tips or any suggestions you may give to me that can help me.

    Thank you for your help.


    --normal zebra
     
  2. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    Some possible places to start:

    Try watching programmes on TV that involve live conversations. Without infringing copyright, record them and analyze how people interact, where they interrupt and speak over each other, and pause saying nothing.

    Then do the same with scripted TV or film. See how the conversations tend not to overlap, and are generally more precise. In writing a novel, you can't overlap dialogue so you need to let each character have their say. You can have characters interrupt each other though.

    Finally, read lots of novels with conversations in. There are plenty out there (most of them in fact).

    Ultimately you need to increase the depth of your experience in order to get a feel for writing anything, and these are a few places to start.
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    First of all, you are not going to be writing conversations, you will be writing dialogue. There is a difference. If you listen to ordinary conversations, there is a lot of verbiage - polite greetings, inquiries about family members, health, etc - that are not desired in written dialogue. Listening to conversations is only a first step. You should compare how dialogue is portrayed in novels with conversations you hear. Also, remember that dialogue in plays, films and television shows will contain some filler that dialogue in novels does not.

    There have been lots of threads on the forum on dialogue. If you do a search on them, you'll surely come across a post by Cogito with a link to his essay on dialogue. He might even post it here. I highly recommend it.
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    You won't know how good you are at it until you try. Imagine a conversation and write it down. Read it out loud to see how natural it sounds. That will give you a starting point to see what you need to work on. Some people are naturally good at it. Others have to work at it.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the most effective way to learn how to write good dialogue is to read/study how the best writers [not the most popular ones] do it...

    watching tv or movies won't be helpful, because written dialog in prose fiction must be done differently, as actual 'conversation' wouldn't read well...
     
  6. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    ...and in most cases may even hurt your dialogue-writing skills! Remember that your medium is the written language. Trying to mimic scripted dialogues is not a good start. Paying too much attention to actual spoken conversations may also lead you in the wrong direction.

    What you should keep in mind when writing a dialogue is that you have two different characters with their own different voices and POVs. Try not to use dialogues to convey blatant information: use them to clash ideas and POVs. This, I think, is a good practice - ask yourself a question, and then try to give two different answers to it, from both of your characters. Try to make them sound and think as distinct as you can.
     
  7. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Make your characters do and say original things -not necessarily kooky but go beyond
    Hi or Hello or straight foreward delivery of information - because this will be one of the key ways to expose
    their personality. You don't have to go all slangy. It's all about how your slant things
    whats the mood behind the message? - are they lying, holding back, not holding
    back, angry, being subtle, manipulative, shy or bragging. People have agendas when they talk. Think
    about a friend whose trying to unload some kittens or wants to burrow money. Is he suspiciously
    friendly all of the sudden. Sometimes people are hiding what's going on and it's all about
    what's not said.
    A good way to get an ear for conversations is listen in on them. Sit in a coffee shop and listen
    to the patterns, the way people convey their feelings. A lot of it's redundant and junk-worthy
    but some is a eye opener.
     
  8. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    It's very important to have a grip on the character's personalities in dialogue. I't important to me to have an instinctive feel for how a given character would respond to a given circumstance.

    There was a period of about four or five years when my main transportation was city bus. Listening in on the conversations around me was great stuff for my dialogue. How people talk, the rhythm and cadences of speech, are very important to making dialogue believable.
     
  9. normalzebra
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    normalzebra New Member

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    Wow, Never expected so much help from all of you.. a heartfelt thanks to everyone here!
    This thread was an eye-opener.. I will try to use all of your advices as closely as possible... Thanks again! :)
     

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