1. nero0226
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    nero0226 New Member

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    lost in translation: dialogue

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by nero0226, Jul 8, 2011.

    hey, is any one out there good with dialogue. I don't think I'm horrible, but I could use some pointers, especially on how to move into dialogue heavy scenes and out of them, or even just when it's appropriate.
     
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  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Dialogue is one of the more challenging writing skills to master. It takes lots of practice, and a lot of eavesdropping on strangers' conversations.

    And that's only the beginning. Good dialogue doesn;t just report conversations, it reveals character, hidden agendas, and emotions.

    So don't be discouraged if you don't master it immediately. Practice, and read, and listen.
     
  3. Gothic Vampire Queen
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    Gothic Vampire Queen Member

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    And I (or we? :) ) am (are, if there is a "we") empathizing the "Master" part.

    And also, a good thing to note, is that you should write how your characters normally would talk. If one of them likes to say "bitch" or something, let him/her say that.

    Dialogue is all about making it seem real.

    Key word: Real
     
  4. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't agree with you on that. Dialogue is not supposed to be authentic, imagine if all writers were supposed to include all the "ehm", "huh" and other little sounds that they include in normal every day speech. if you listen to people speaking in a public place many of them take forever to get to the point of whatever they are telling, they get distacted or lose themselves in other topics in the middle of telling something. in writing you can't do that because you would lose your readers. instead you give the impression of an authentic dialogue while excluding all the unnecessary words and expressions that doesn't fit into the context and leave just the necessary stuff. I also disagree that you should use the exact words a character would use. I think sometime you have to somehow translate them into a more litterary language, without losing the feeling for the character anmd his personality. At least I could never use all the slang, bad words and other that some characters might use when talking, but that is me and it might also depend on what kind of novel/story you are writing and how you want it to be perceived.
     
  5. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It comes down to reading a lot, living and observing people around you, and practice.

    If you have a particular example of your writing, I'd be happy to look at it for you (if you post it in the review section, after having done some reviews yourself).

    I think one of the key things is that dialogue should not just 'revisit' what the reader already knows. Be mindful of too much 'needless' dialogue as well, i.e. banal everyday things that only act as filler in the end. (People greeting each other, small talk etc. Some is needed of course but not to excess in my opinion...)

    As in real life, it is very often what isn't said explicitly that's much more important. People hint at things all the time and don't always spell out what they mean... yet it is very often clear all the same.
     
  6. A man called Valance
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    A man called Valance Active Member

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    Good dialogue earns its place and does a job for you. Through dialogue you can reveal things (character/ information/whatever, as long as it is integral to the story) to the reader, and help set things up. Generally, it should carry the story forward. Look closely at your own written dialogue and see if you can identify the value of each line.
     
  7. BobLobLaw
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    BobLobLaw Member

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    I'm good with dialogue.

    Some tips:

    1. It's good to know your characters thoroughly. If you know them well enough, then your characters will say in any situation.

    2. Watch and read as many things with dialogue as possible. Determine if it's good or bad, and come up with reasons why.

    3. Just have a good handle on grammar. No one likes people who talk poorly.
     
  8. superdoopersauce
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    superdoopersauce Member

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    If you're feeling really stuck, you can do what I did: record a typical conversation with your friends or whoever, and then transcribe it into text. Add the normal "he said, she exclaimed, he muttered" tags and see how it looks. You'll then have an idea how real life dialogue looks on paper.

    And then, if you want, start altering that dialogue and be a bit creative with it. It's an interesting exercise to play around with, in my opinion :)

    And above all, listening to others is important. Play the fly on the wall every once in a while and try to decode conversations as they exist as exchanges of information and emotions.
     
  9. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Films make a great source for picking up on dialogue that sounds both authentic and to the point. In far too many novels, the dialogue is very artificial, piling up into extensive monologues and overly stylized language, where as in films, once an actor has to perform the lines, they'll have to be much more natural and in-character.
     

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