less dialog

Discussion in 'Dialogue Development' started by deadrats, Nov 10, 2022.

  1. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Conspicuously Conventional Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2018
    Messages:
    1,612
    Likes Received:
    1,774
    Well of course one could actually show the crime being committed. I’m unclear how that adds anything to the point of disagreement. Which is:
    And my position is: implying an important narrative event (or other things, such as the nature of a relationship) is not the same as showing said event.
     
  2. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2019
    Messages:
    9,319
    Likes Received:
    10,074
    Location:
    Way, way out there
    Or it could be done in dialogue. The crime unit has cordoned off the house, forensics experts are dusting for fingerprints, and a detective is examining the rooms.

    "Be sure to dust the gun cabinet and all the guns in it." His eyes roamed the walls, the heads of trophy animals, the huge fireplace with the elaborately carved marble mantelpiece. "And that elephant gun." He strode into the bedroom. "She was on top, her back to him when he kicked the door in. Must've shot her first, and then reloaded and plugged the lawyer right in the heart."
     
  3. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2019
    Messages:
    9,319
    Likes Received:
    10,074
    Location:
    Way, way out there
    Let me repeat:
    Showing doesn't mean you can't show important narrative events. Why would it? I Mena, you can inf you want to, or you can show it, entirely upto you as the writer. But it certainly doesn't prevent you from showing anything you want to show. What's implied is the inner motivations of the characters generally. But I hate when people try to pin me down to making these declarative statements about things that are broad and inclusive. They're the wrong kind of statements to make.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2022
  4. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Conspicuously Conventional Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2018
    Messages:
    1,612
    Likes Received:
    1,774
    :confused:
     
  5. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2019
    Messages:
    9,319
    Likes Received:
    10,074
    Location:
    Way, way out there
    What don't you understand?
     
  6. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Conspicuously Conventional Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2018
    Messages:
    1,612
    Likes Received:
    1,774
    How you could be under the impression that I have stated, “showing means one can’t show important narrative events”? If you feel I have, please point out where.
     
  7. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2019
    Messages:
    9,319
    Likes Received:
    10,074
    Location:
    Way, way out there
    This conversation is getting seriously diverted. Why don't you just explain your point or drop it? Why keep beating around the bush so much and making implications rather than saying what you mean? Honestly it seems whatever point you're trying to make is very minor and semantic, based off a very literal and reductive interpretation of Banespawn's "Implying is showing".
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2022
  8. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2019
    Messages:
    9,319
    Likes Received:
    10,074
    Location:
    Way, way out there
    It probably should have been "Showing is often implying". Would that solve the issue? Implying isn't always showing, showing isn't always implying, and showing isn't always better than telling. All these things are understood unless someone takes someone's words very literally and wants to do a Gotcha! on a technicality.
     
  9. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Conspicuously Conventional Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2018
    Messages:
    1,612
    Likes Received:
    1,774
    I‘ve already explained my point of disagreement, clearly and concisely, back in post #49 of this thread. And then you quoted that post as if to offer a correction, and here we are.

    I’m happy to drop it. I just assumed it would be perfectly kosher to post my ideas of something being discussed.
     
  10. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2021
    Messages:
    1,171
    Likes Received:
    815
    I think part of the confusion here is you using 'shown' and 'showing' in both the literary and colloquial context. I could be misunderstanding, but when you disagree with 'implying is showing' it's because you are thinking of the verb 'shown' to equal 'on the page'. Yes, if a crime scene is implied but none of the violence is described in words or narrated, it isn't 'on the page' and isn't 'shown' but that's separate from the 'show/tell' dichotomy.

    Implying can be an effective way to 'show' in the literary sense in that it allows the reader to be immersed in the story and forget that there is even a narrator 'telling' them the story as they put the details together and come to their own conclusions (which should be the same as what the author intended, if they've written it well).

    I feel this is sort of a semantic confusion of the broader definition of 'shown'/'on the page' and the more nuanced concept of 'showing', similar to how 'terrorism' is a specific concept, and the acts from 'terrorists' often 'terrorize' people, not not all events that 'terrorize' can be classified as 'terrorism'.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2022
  11. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Conspicuously Conventional Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2018
    Messages:
    1,612
    Likes Received:
    1,774
    I can’t agree. Any definition of showing that doesn’t capture what a reader actually wants shown is terribly flawed.
     
  12. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    5,070
    Likes Received:
    5,053
    Why is everyone so obsessed with showing and telling? This was supposed to be a conversation about dialog.
     
  13. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2021
    Messages:
    1,171
    Likes Received:
    815
    I think you can lock the thread if you're satisfied with the responses or you can ask the mods to move the other responses to a separate thread.
     
  14. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    5,070
    Likes Received:
    5,053
    I'm not looking to lock a thread. I posted this thread so that there could be a discussion that I thought was worth having about dialog. I don't get all this showing and telling talk that's taken over more than just this thread.
     
  15. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Messages:
    10,546
    Likes Received:
    17,826
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    An excellent question. We already have at least two show vs tell threads in active transit. Not that we're likely to reach resolution anytime soon unless the server crashes.

    Other discussions that will circle the drain forever and never flush: italics for thought, the ins and outs of passive voice, and whether it's "okay" to write about (insert literally anything).

    Let's bring the discussion back to the topic, please.
     
    deadrats likes this.
  16. montecarlo

    montecarlo Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2020
    Messages:
    541
    Likes Received:
    501
    Location:
    America's Heartland
    I never really thought about writing as a balance between narrative and dialog. I just write what I think the characters would say in the moment. Someone in this thread brought up subtext, and another used the example of showing a person getting fired. If I may combine the two, with the fired man coming home to his wife and Shitzu.

    Martin opened the door, and Lady greeted him with two paws on his shin and a wiggly butt.
    "Fuck, go to your crate!"

    OR

    Martin opened the door, and Lady greeted him with two paws on his shin and a wiggly butt.
    "Hey girl, love you too, gimme a minute to see your mommy."


    Both are perfectly reasonable pieces of dialog and give us insight into how Martin is taking getting the sack, and his character. Notice neither piece of dialog actually means anything to the narrative, however. It isn't "Hey honey, I just got fired and I'm in a shitty mood." or "I just got fired and it made me realize how important you all are to me."

    Anyways that's my 2 cents on dialog.
     
  17. trevorD

    trevorD Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2021
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    174
    Dialogue is your friend.
     
    w. bogart likes this.
  18. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    5,070
    Likes Received:
    5,053
    Well, my point is that's not always the case.
     
  19. badgerjelly

    badgerjelly Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2013
    Messages:
    1,544
    Likes Received:
    935
    Location:
    Earth
    I have had to train myself to write more dialog not less. Sometimes I used to use none at all.

    Usually if I have the need to write a story of some kind I start with ‘pure dialog’ (basically a script) and learn about the characters, setting and problems involved as the interaction progresses. Sometimes I never use any of this in the story but it helps me a lot in establishing the characters, themes and develop ideas.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice