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Thread: Dialogue

  1. #1
    Wayne G
    Guest

    Dialogue

    I read a book on dialogue where the author suggested that readers "try" to overhear dialogue in everyday situations, write the lines down, and try to construct a story around them, or at least expand and extrapolate. Here's what I overheard at the mall today:

    - That's why I dumped him
    - It's long enough so it covers my butt
    - I don't know anything about the French Revolution; I don't know anything about the Russian Revolution; but I have to know about it before I can figure out this Stalin thing.

    Just curious if anyone has tried this and if it helped.



  2. #2
    Debbi Voisey
    Guest

    Re: Dialogue

    The best place to "eavesdrop" is on a train! I am always fascinated by people's conversations on trains, particularly when they are talking on their mobile phones.

    You get brief glimpses of people's lives when you spend just 30 minutes or so in their company. Just take what you hear and then make up a whole character based around that.

    Earwigging is good! LOL

    Debbi

  3. #3
    Terri D
    Guest

    Re: Dialogue

    So Wayne...were you, like, in a high school cafeteria? ;-)

    Restaurants are a good place to 'eavesdrop'. But, to answer your question, sometimes. If the conversation I hear could be relevant to my story. Usually though, I take the sarcastic humor quotes I hear...and i mostly get those from my family. ;-)

  4. #4
    Cindy Kay
    Guest

    Re: Dialogue

    Yes, I love eavesdropping. I heard a great one recently. Three mothers were talking about the gynocologist they share. He's just darling (and my gyn as well) so you can imagine the conversation. If there were an adult content section, I could say more.

  5. #5
    leslee
    Guest

    Re: Dialogue

    Eavesdropping isn't necessary in L.A. Everyone bellows into their cell phones in public all day long, loud enough for their neighbors to hear them, about every dumb thought that goes through their heads. I'm forever hearing comments I wish I hadn't heard.

  6. #6
    Debbi Voisey
    Guest

    Re: Dialogue

    The funniest mobile phone chat I heard was:

    "If she won't sit down, bend her leg a few times backwards and forwards, and twist it around. And make sure she's out of reach of the dog. I still haven't mended the hole in her stomach from the last time."

    !!

    Debbi

  7. #7
    Mya Bell
    Guest

    Re: Dialogue

    The problem with taking dialog from real life and inserting it into a manuscript is that an agent's response is likely to be:

    "I'm sorry, but we have decided not to represent you. While I find the premise of your manuscript interesting, the dialog is implausible and, at times, incomprehensible.

    Thank you for considering our agency but, at this time, we'll have to pass."

    :-)

    --- Mya Bell

  8. #8
    Jerry Hatchett
    Guest

    Re: Dialogue

    Yup, you're surely right, Mya. Good dialog is NOT a transcription of actual spoken conversation. It's its own form, something between spoken conversation and narrative. If anyone doubts that, all they need do is record a few conversations and transcribe them to screen and/or paper.

    j

  9. #9
    Debbi Voisey
    Guest

    Re: Dialogue

    I think Mya was being ironic, Jerry.

    I disagree that actual spoken conversation does not translate to the screen or page. One of my favourite writers is a man called Russel T Davies (he wrote Queer As Folk UK, Second Coming, Bob and Rose, and is writing the new series of Doctor Who).

    His dialogue is stunning and *is* a true representation of how people speak. The result is a refreshing change from the stilted dialogue that people insist on putting into dramas and or books. Just because you get used to a way of doing things, doesn't mean it is the best way.

    Why make dialogue like a narrative. That's not how we speak. I am a great believer in realism.

    Debbi

  10. #10
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: Dialogue

    Have you ever recorded an exact conversation, Debbi, and then transcribed it faithfully--and then tried to follow it? I'll have to track down something by Russel T Davies and check it out, but I seriously doubt that he renders dialogue exactly as conversations are spoken--and as, I think, Jerry meant. Exact renderings of actual dialogue are mish mash in the single dimension of written words on a page.

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