1. sharnate85
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    sharnate85 New Member

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    I am guessing this is a gramatical question..

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by sharnate85, Nov 24, 2010.

    I am having the hardest time figuring out how to write the dialogue in my story. I honestly have no clue how to really write what my characters are saying to each other without either using said too much, or just going to the back and fourth quotes. How is dialogue written correctly?
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you may need to read more, before you try to write... just take any 6 novels by 6 different respected authors down from your bookshelf and you'll see how it's done...
     
  3. Newfable
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    Newfable Senior Member

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    A lot of the time, writing 'said' is a lot easier than describing the dialogue. Sometimes it's ok, but dialogue can slow down the pacing of a story, and describing the dialogue can slow it even further.

    I don't understand what you mean by back and forth quotes though:
    Something like that? Or am I completely lost?
     
  4. sharnate85
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    sharnate85 New Member

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    Yes that is exactly what I mean by back and fourth quotes.
    Also, mammamia, I do not appreciate your assuming that I have not read anything by any respected authors or saying that I need to read more. If you don't have anything helpful or respectful to say, please don't say it.
     
  5. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    She speaks the truth. Pay attention to how the authors deal with dialogue. There is nothing wrong with using Said. Going out of your way to avoid it, by using other saidisms can be distracting. You also don't even need to say he said or she said.

    You could do something like this:

    "This is a horrible example." The man shrugged. "My bad."

    Cogito actually has a great blog post about dialogue. A link to it is in his signature called He Said She Said or something along those lines. In his blog post he does a great job of explaining the grammar and the way it works.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry for the poor word choice... i've changed 'clearly' to 'may'...

    no offense was intended and i certainly did not assume what you assumed i did... my suggestion was intended to be helpful and respectful... it's a shame you couldn't take it that way...
     
  7. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    The stuff around dialogue should flow naturally with it and the story. If the dialogue is fast and snappy, don't use too many tags, except where to clarify who is saying what. When there is a lot going on, and speech is just thrown in around a lot of action, you can construct it so often you don't need to use any sort of indicator who was speaking because it's obvious from the context that they are the one who is speaking, or to weave in their actions and description around it, so that instead of a sentence that pretty much is just "she said," you have a whole complex sentence that is a part of the action. I'd give examples but it's almost 2am and I'm sleepy. :p
     
  8. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Many of the questions people have as they try to write their story can be answered by analyzing their favorite books to see how those writers handled the same issues.
     
  9. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Whenever I write dialogue, I try to say it out loud before I start writing about it.

    "Wanna go skating?" Jessica asked.
    "Do it look like I wanna skate with you?" I replied grumpily.
    "Well, sorry! I guess you.. I don't know why I'm talking to you for..."
    "Wait! I didn't mean to say it that way."
    "Look, then start talking to me the right way.." She rolled her eyes at me. "I wish people will start talking to me like I'm a human..."
    "I said I was sorry..."
    "Ah, it's okay. Maybe I was getting carried away..."
    "Look," I sighed. "I'll go skating with you..."
    "Yay! Let's go!" She excitedly folded her arms around me.


    I think that's how I write dialogue. I find dialogue writing is the most fun part in the book-writing process. The narration is something that bores me without dialogue.
     
  10. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    From the subject of your question, the way you phrased it and the blunder over "fourth" (which you repeated), I think mammamia was justified in assuming that even if you had read some respected authors you had not done so with sufficient attention to their writing. The advice was helpful and, I reckon, to the point. If you don't like it, don't shoot the messenger.
     
  11. SRCroft
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    SRCroft Member

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    Dialogue

    I suggest a series called Great Fiction, they have an excellent book on the importance of dialogue and how it relates as you interlace it with narrative and action.

    Dialogue is tricky when it's not your forte, which actually is more common than people think. Dialogue is just like narrative. It has to push the story forward, give new information, and create tension in every line. You want realism, but if you aren't doing one of those three things -- ignore what would or is being said -- and interlace narrative or action, that leads to new dialogue that is meaningful.

    As for the grammar and structure, I will put a few rules, but re-reading other work is suggested. Good dialogue is unnoticeable so even reading, you won't remember how it was done. You need to re-read for explication of rules, and only that purpose.

    Rules:
    Every line focuses on one character, so any attached action or narrative to that characters view point, stays with that line.

    Remove ALL speaker tags, if not necessary. If your paragraph says:
    David looked ahead and smiled. "Wow, that is amazing."
    Don't put "he said, David said etc"

    Don't add action or narrative often. Try to have dialogue stand on its own, by itself as much as possible. The chosen words and tools like (-,--,?,!,...), should be able to relay the expression and even in most cases physical movement of a character.

    Never use "CHARACTER said", if "he said", is enough.

    I assumed that you know to indent every new speaker or every new paragraph that focuses on a different thing or person's viewpoint.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    src... why did you post that rude quote from sharnate again, when it has no relevance to what you wrote there?
     
  13. SRCroft
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    SRCroft Member

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    Quoted the wrong post, my bad. After being up all night writing, paragraphs start blending together -- XD.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    whew!... you had me worried there for a bit... thought i had two disgruntled posters after me here...
     

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