1. JosephMarch
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    JosephMarch Active Member

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    How much recollecting in dialog?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by JosephMarch, May 14, 2014.

    My MC is catching up with another character after 20 years. How much of the MC's past do I actually put into dialog? The reader already knows about it and read it as it happened.

    Do I just say she told him about x, y, and z. and then dab a little actual dialog in ? I don't want to bore the reader with things he/she already knows...
     
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    This is hard because the scene could feel like a replay. A good way would be to show a new viewpoint/insite of the same events.

    Like for instance say two friends went on a scary roller coaster ride and the mc is scared stiff, terrified it's going to derail, ready to wet her pants but the next day as she's talking about it with her friend she could be bragging about the whole thing - about how great it was, how awesome, and how she wasn't scared at all.
     
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  3. JosephMarch
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    JosephMarch Active Member

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    Yes, I tried to interject a lot of feelings this time, things the% reader didnt really see the first time. I just want to do it right!
     
  4. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I've got a similar situation in my novel. I came to the conclusion that I should probably just tell the reader that the story had been told rather than show dialogue of it being told, then I skipped to the parts where the listener had reactions as that was relevant and interesting. It depends what you want to get out of this scene really. If you're just writing it because it's logical it would happen, then it's no more relevant to the story than someone going to bed for the night and you can probably let the reader work out it's happened by implication.
     
  5. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    They had a whole evening ahead of them. John decided it's about time he tells Martin what happened to him all those years ago.

    ---Chapter Break---

    The next morning, John felt a bit drowsy. "Still, the sex was great", he told himself. Too bad he never got to tell Martin what happened to him all those years ago.
    :)
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    If the reader already knows, I'd say don't repeat anything but the bits where the reader may be eager to see the other character's reaction.
     
  7. JosephMarch
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    JosephMarch Active Member

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    The problem I'm having, is there is a lot of give and take, like in most conversations. The reader does not know what happened to the other character during all those years. So he tells his part, catching up the MC (and the reader). Then the MC interjects some of the things she wants him to know. I think telling them from a sort of different angle will still be interesting to the reader.
     
  8. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it's not vital to the scene I usually pretend they talk about it "off camera", so to speak. Otherwise I do something like what Burlbird suggested, but without the chapter break.
     
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  9. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'd say just write the new character's reaction to the news, and the ensuing discussion, if there is one. That should do the trick in most cases.
     
  10. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Say they sat down, had a few drinks, discussed the past, and list a few things they discussed, like that time I rode an elephant through the Nepalese restaurant. No need to 'quote' the conversation.
     

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