1. Evelyanin
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    Evelyanin Senior Member

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    Tips needed (No dialogue section)

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Evelyanin, Jun 17, 2009.

    Hello everyone, I am currently working on my first novel, but because it is my first, I am having trouble with the length of certain sections. In my case, this means that the longer sections bring about their own problems. The first part of my story starts with very little dialogue from characters. So far there is only one set of dialogue, in which only three people talk, each only once. These characters are very likely not going to show up again for the rest of the story. In the part of the story my main character is by herself, so I highly doubt she is going to be doing a lot of talking. What makes it more difficult is that the story is told from a third person viewpoint. This means I am unable to get inside her head, so I am only able to "tell" what she is thinking and work with her actions. It may have been easier to tell it from the first person viewpoint, but latter parts in the story make that almost impossible. Besides that, the story isn't as much about her than about the story itself.
    So to get to the question I was trying to get answered in the first place.... Does anyone have any tips on how to make a certain section of your story more interesting, even when no dialogue is involved? Does anyone have certain tricks that they use in order to show the story, rather than just tell it? I'm slightly worried my story might end up like "Wall-E", with little dialogue in the beginning, resulting in an almost boring start to the story. (Yes, I know Wall-E is a cute movie after all, but people watching it expect something good. As a beginner, they won't know what to expect of my work, since unlike Pixar, I haven't really built up a name for myself yet.)
     
  2. Dante Dases
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    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wouldn't worry too much about there not being a huge amount of dialogue at the start of your story. In 2001: A Space Odyssey the first speech didn't come about until page 36 and it remained to be like water in the desert throughout much of the rest of the novel. What matters is the quality of the writing.

    Remember that books are a completely different medium to films. What might not work on the screen can work a treat on the page, and vice versa.
     
  3. Evelyanin
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    Evelyanin Senior Member

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    Yes, I know books are a lot different, but found that Wall-E was a good example of one that started off with no dialogue (actually, the whole movie doesn't have a lot of dialogue). I'm just trying to find a way for the reader to get to know the character without dialogue. Things are happening, but for all I care, the character isn't really a person. I want to give my character life, I want to give my story life, but what are some ways you can show it?
     
  4. Dante Dases
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    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

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    Show it through little nuances in behaviour. For instance, if this character is alone, have them sigh in frustration or run fingers through their hair, put hands on hips, etc. Third person perspective also doesn't preclude the accessing of a character's thoughts and feelings.
     
  5. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Here is my recommendation. Read I Am Legend. There is hardly any dialog in the whole novel. It is told in the third person, yet it is full of the MCs thoughts, who is alone for most of the novel.

    The key is to change up between main narration, thoughts, action, descriptions.
     
  6. seta
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    seta Contributing Member

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    I was going to point out that you need some sort of human interaction, because just reading about actions alone gets very boring very quickly. It is my observation that some of the best novels are driven by character interaction. For my first novel, I am focusing on characters, so I have speech-a-plenty.

    However, when I do have a section that is speechless, I usually tell a story, like a flashback on history. That might be something to consider to add some depth to your story.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    So why do you even have dialogue there? The main purpose of dialogue is to expose character, and yet these are throwaway characters. Are you using the dialogue for exposition?

    For one thing, just because she's alone doesn't mean she cannot talk to herself. Or is she's really isolated, she might create an imaginary person to talk to, Like the soccer ball (Wilson) in Tom Hanks' Cast Away.

    But dialogue isn't necessary for telling a good story. The challenges the character faces and overcomes keeps the story flowing apace. As long as there is a struggle between a need to reach a goal and obstacles impeding priogress toward te goal, you have a plot, and can keep the reader interested.
     
  8. Evelyanin
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    Evelyanin Senior Member

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    The dialogue mentioned is spoken by some guys who are looking for her. Though they don`t see her, and she doesn`t see them, she overhears them as they head in her direction, and what they say is what brings her to do the things she does. These actions lead to her getting lost, which is the part of the story where she is by herself. This is only a small insignifcant piece compared to the rest of the story (where she does interact with people), but at the same time it is long enough that it becomes almost uncomfortable for me when there is not a lot of potential for dialogue. This is probably just in my head, but it would be nice to know how to enhance the piece.
     
  9. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    I don't think lack of dialogue is necessarily a problem, however authors tend to replace the space with copious amounts of back story/info.

    This is what should be avoided.
     
  10. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cog - Excellent analogy. Without that soccer ball-person, the movie would have been noticeably slower during the island scenes.

    Regarding the OP, you say "Besides that, the story isn't as much about her than about the story itself." How do you propose to involve readers in the story if there is no MC for them to connect with? What is the plot of the story? Where will the reader find emotional connection? Is there possibly a betrayal of trust between you (writer) and the reader as you introduce characters in the beginning, characters that mean nothing to the story line? Do you have any kind of hook at the beginning of the story to create reader interest?
     
  11. Evelyanin
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    Evelyanin Senior Member

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    What I meant by that was; the story doesn`t revolve around the main character. If the main character wasn`t there, then the story would still go on, but with a few major changes of course. The reason for the story is the antagonist. He is the one who pulls all these people into a situation where they have no choice but to be part of it. The main character is one of those people. She is the one through which the story is seen. At the same time, because the story doesn`t depend on her, there are some parts where she isn`t involved. It is hard to be involved when you are locked up in a room. In that case, the story is focused on the people who are trying to get the main character out. The story is only semi-omnipresent, so the reader doesn`t know everything. For example, think of Lord of the Rings. Who is that story about? Frodo may have been a big character, but it wasn't completely about him. Other people where also involved. While he was off getting rid of the ring, other things also happened. Yet at the same time some things where hidden from the reader. I see Lord of the Rings as a story about people fighting against evil. I see Cinderella as a story about Cinderella. See the difference?
     
  12. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    It sounds like you might want to consider making the antagonist the MC.
     
  13. Evelyanin
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    Evelyanin Senior Member

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    Ha ha, that almost would make sense. The only problem is, even though the antagonist is the one who cause things to happen, what he is doing is often hidden. The tornado in "Twister" is the reason why the story is there, but you experience it through the people who are there because of the tornado. Seeing the story through the eyes of the antagonist could be interesting, but all I have is a story about the people working against the antagonist, and I would hate to throw that away just so I could focus on someone who I don't even like. :)
     
  14. afinemess
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    afinemess Active Member

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    As long as you have something interesting going on, it shouldnt matter if there is dialog. But if you bog your story down with a lot of thinking and explaining, it can get pretty boring for the reader, even if it makes sense and is interesting to you. If you write something, and you could sum that whole paragraph up in a few sentences, then do it. Less is more sometimes.

    I understand what you are trying to do as far as show everything that is going on (from the person in the room, and out). I tried to rewrite my whole first chapter to include how everyone else saw my main character, rather than do the entire story in first person. In my case it didnt work. It became a hard to follow mess when it was just as interesting following it from her eyes. Look into the possibility of following a character that you havent looked at as a MC. One that could have a view of everything rather than jumping around from a character in a room to ones outside it. It might be an interesting route to follow. But thats just a suggestion on something to try and see how it goes.

    Hope my ramblings helped and made sense. My child is screaming at a toy behind me, and that makes it hard to focus. LOL
     

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