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Thread: dialogue

  1. #1
    chris redd


    How do you write dialogue in a novel?

    when two characters are talking do they have to have names after thier dialogue for instance:

    "That's low even for you" Even replied.



    "That's low even for you" Even replied.

    "So" john muttered.

  2. #2
    Simon Says

    Re: dialogue

    Chris - if there's only two people in a scene - you need to identify who is saying what at the beginning of the coversation so the reader has a reference point - but you do not need to tag every line as the dialogue progresses.

  3. #3
    Ian Bassingthwaighte

    Re: dialogue

    Well, it depends on several factors. You personal styles, the strength of the characters' personalities, etc. etc. In some cases, you don't even need to have anything but the dialog, as the content itself determines who is talking. Also, if you are going to use such statements as "Even replied," diversify them. If you use the same one over and over it begins to look as if you aren't creative. For example:

    John looked over towards Even and muttered, "So."

    "That's low even for you, John" <--- the name clarifies that Even is speaking

    Even was upset that John tipped over his garbage can.
    "That's low, even for you!"
    "So?" <--- in context, the speaker is clear

  4. #4
    Nathan J

    Re: dialogue

    It would be very annoying, and it would kill the flow, if everything was identified. So if you want to set the tone for someone, you elaborate on their tone as they're being introduced. Then you can go back and forth; if there's a lot of dialogue, you can add a bit in the middle, or after an exclamatory phrase or so.


  5. #5
    chris redd

    Re: dialogue

    thanks for the information

  6. #6
    Danny Volt

    Re: dialogue

    All the advice here is sound.
    I had the opposite problem with my story, which one person who read it pointed out ... sometimes it was hard to follow who was saying what, because I dispensed with most "he said-she said" attribution so I didn't break up the flow. But if you string too much of that together, even if it's a 2-person convo, you can learn the reader.

  7. #7
    jill smith

    Re: dialogue

    Dialogue establishes the flow of the story as much as the preceding and the paragraphs which follow. Describing the identity of the speaker can be done without mentioning their name. One character is a young and comes from Texas, then mention their drawl or the lack of authority in their voice.
    The reader wants clarity in who is speaking or they won't finish your story. It is important to keep them eager to finish the story. I have read some books I haven't read more than two paragraphs before they went back on my bookshelve and I gave them away.
    Try to avoid that from happening with snappy dialogue and sympathetic characters(even if they are despictable) who keep the reader wanting to follow the plot to the end.
    Jill Smith

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