1. Tom Fletch
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    Tom Fletch Member

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    How to chop down dialogue?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Tom Fletch, Aug 19, 2012.

    Long story short, my characters have just met Death.

    That should be enough information to gather that there is ALOT of dialogue, so much so its proberbly like 1000 words of it...And i'm not to sure how to break it up
     
  2. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    You need to be more specific. Do you want to "chop down" as in removing words? Do you want to break up the dialogue with movement, actions, thoughts, etc.? Or do you want different scenes?

    You might even be better off waiting until you're able to, then posting an example of it in the workshop section and letting people comment on it.
     
  3. Tom Fletch
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    Tom Fletch Member

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    I mean adding movements/actions ect.
    At the moment its just three characters talking to Death in a cafe. Mainly solid talking bar a few actions
     
  4. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    Do any of them have to use the bathroom during the scene? Does the waiter/waitress come up to take their order? Does anyone spill a drink? Does anyone take a bite of something and choke, only to have someone else stair at death and he rolls his eyes (if he has eyes).

    Who's the MC? How does he feel about the conversation? How does he react to it? Is there anything said that makes him squirm, makes him jump? Makes him sick to his stomach? Makes him daydream about seeing a dead wife/mother/brother/husband/father/etc.?

    What are the reactions of the other people at the bar? Do they recognize death? If not, why not? What does the MC think about that? Why is the MC even there? Is the MC worried about getting home after seeing death? Does it make him think about a stupid movie where two guys named Bill and Ted have an adventure and meet death?

    (Yes, there are a lot of sentence fragments here!)
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No, I wouldn't think so. Don't turn it into a talkfest. You aren't interviewing Death on The View. Actually, I think Death would run away screaming in that case.

    How about interrupting the yakety-yak with action? Why is Death there? Has someone's time come? Is Death behind quota?
     
  6. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Dialogue shouldn't exist just to exist. Even during dialogue, characters have thoughts, feelings, actions that happen beyond usual tags. You can do a page, break it up with some narration to give the reader a break, then do some more, etc til you've finished the time. However, page after page of narration will bore a reader.
     
  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    "Proberbly"???
     
  8. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    Some of these comments were funny as hell. "does anyone go to the bathroom?" " you aren't interviewing death on the view."

    made me laugh.

    anyway, it's hard to say with such vague info. What are they talking about? The amount of dialogue depends on that, depends on the characteristics of the characters, etc. IDK. The only thing I would say is don't be redundant and put in dialogue what readers already know. Make is as punchy and to the point as possible to avoid a long, boring scene.
     
  9. DanesDarkLand
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    DanesDarkLand Senior Member

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    I have got to agree with the crowd. Even though Death itself should be a respected enough event that people will talk and ask questions, but what is the motivation for being there in the first place? There's not enough to go on based on the fact you can't post the conversation for critique yet.

    Did they go there to search him out? If they did, how did they find he was there? If he came to them, why is he there in the first place? Dialogue for dialogue's sake is pretty useless. People talk for a reason, especially in a book. You don't have a thousand words of dialogue without a reason. Think about the reason, and add action to suit.
     

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