1. Keyvee
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    Keyvee Member

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    Facial expressions and gestures

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Keyvee, May 24, 2008.

    Being a non-native speaker and still trying to write in English makes it very difficult to add gestures and facial expressions to my dialogs. Has anyone ever found a list of facial expressions f.e. different types of smiles, or mines like :/, :|, or expression of indifference when one eyebrow is upper than the second one. Anyway, here is an example of my dialog. Any suggestions BTW?


    'Thank, you. Now Jason. Please introduce yourself' Arthur beckoned at O.D. The man stood up. 'I'm Jason White.' On hearing this, Dan burst out laughing. Everyone looked at him. 'What's wrong Dan?' Arthur inquired. The boy replied still laughing. 'Hehe nothing, Just your last name's White, and ya're black, It's funny.'
    'Are you a racist?' Jason asked. Dan's smile immediately disappeared. 'No, why?'
    'I heard your comment on Tokutei earlier in the car, and it was rude.'
    'I apologised to him!' he shouted. 'Jason is right,' Surya said. 'You tend to be rude to other people.'
    'Eh, I am sorry Jason, I didn't want to be impolite.'
    'Ok, I admit I had some racism problems at school because of my last name.' Jason explained. 'But coming back to me, I'm a former member of Australian SPSU, which is an equivalent to your SWAT.'...

    Thanks
     
  2. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    The actual dialogue is a little unnatural, not too bad, but it's mainly because English isn't your native language. The expressions/gestures part was spot on, from what I read.
     
  3. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    Hey, Keyvee... I wouldn't be so worried about trying to convey your characters' facial expressions during dialogue. The fact is that the tone, and what the characters are saying, are much better tools to illustrate that sort of thing. Given enough to go on, readers are able to imagine what someone's facial expression is likely to be by the emotion conveyed through the dialogue, and I think that most readers appreciate the opportunity to fill in the blanks themselves. I wouldn't say that you should never describe a facial expression, but during dialogue it has the potential to interrupt the natural flow.

    Think about it this way - when you are speaking to someone on the phone, and they are angry or frustrated or sad, I'm sure that you can imagine what their face looks like, even though you can't see it and the never say anything like "my eybrows are arched right now". It's all conveyed through what they are saying and the tone they use to say it - the trick then becomes translating that to the page.

    I hope that helps.
    :)
     
  4. Theatre
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    Theatre New Member

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    "Thank you. Now, Jason. Please introduce yourself," Arthur beckoned at O.D.
    The man stood up.

    "I'm Jason White." On hearing this, Dan burst out laughing. Everyone looked at him.

    "What's wrong Dan?" Arthur inquired. The boy replied still laughing.

    "Hehe nothing. Just your last name's White, and you're black. It's funny."

    "Are you a racist?" Jason asked. Dan's smile immediately disappeared.

    "No, why?"

    "I heard your comment on Tokutei earlier in the car, and it was rude."

    "I apologized to him!" he shouted.

    "Jason is right," Surya said. "You tend to be rude to other people."

    "Eh, I am sorry Jason. I didn't want to be impolite."

    "Ok, I admit I had some racism problems at school because of my last name," Jason explained. "But coming back to me, I'm a former member of Australian SPSU, which is an equivalent to your SWAT."

    ____________________________________________

    I know English isn't you're native language, and what you had was very good for that. They way I changed that paragraph is just an example of an easier way to format your writing for the people reading it. Generally, you start a new paragraph every time someone new is speaking.

    As for the facial expressions, there are many different ways to describe them. Though it is hard sometimes to try to capture the exact look. You can use phrases like:

    A square jaw
    gritted teeth
    raised eyebrow
    bemused glance
    smirk
    etc.

    i know those are sort of bad examples, but I hope I helped you at least a little..
     
  5. Keyvee
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    Keyvee Member

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    So one can't write without that space after every sentence? Is it really necessary? If yes the length of the book will increase by 1/3 and that doesn't sound good
     
  6. Theatre
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    Theatre New Member

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    The complete space isn't required, I just do it on websites because it is easier, as the "tab" button doesn't work as well on here.

    However, you at least need to indent. and yes, it is nessacary. Open up any book, every author does that.

    An indent would be one or two spaces in front of the new paragraph. And no, the new paragraph isn't after "every sentence," but it is typical format to do it before a new person starts speaking. I would show you how to do it with indentation, [this is how most books format things], but the site doesn't allow you to. Or if it does, I'm not sure how. However, you should at least start a new line before a new person begins speaking... see below:
    _________________________________

    Thank you. Now, Jason. Please introduce yourself," Arthur beckoned at O.D.
    The man stood up.
    "I'm Jason White." On hearing this, Dan burst out laughing. Everyone looked at him.
    "What's wrong Dan?" Arthur inquired. The boy replied still laughing.
    "Hehe nothing. Just your last name's White, and you're black. It's funny."
    "Are you a racist?" Jason asked. Dan's smile immediately disappeared.
    "No, why?"
    "I heard your comment on Tokutei earlier in the car, and it was rude."
    "I apologized to him!" he shouted.
    "Jason is right," Surya said. "You tend to be rude to other people."
    "Eh, I am sorry Jason. I didn't want to be impolite."
    "Ok, I admit I had some racism problems at school because of my last name," Jason explained. "But coming back to me, I'm a former member of Australian SPSU, which is an equivalent to your SWAT."
     
  7. Aurora_Black
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    Aurora_Black Contributing Member

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    Well, some good facial expressions related to anger or disgust would be:
    Snarled
    Grimaced
    Furrowed his/her brows

    Not sure if that helps, but thats all I can think up off the top of my head :p
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Each paragraph should only contain dialogue from one speaker. That is indicated on a website such as this by a blank line between paragraphs. Whent it is typeset, there will also usually be space between paragraphs.

    Don't be stingy with blank space. It does improve readability when properly used.
     

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