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Thread: Dialogue

  1. #1
    Ruairi Kavanagh


    Anybody else find it really hard to write without it sounding clunky? I know, you may be thinking, that being able to do such things skillfully is what makes one a professional writer. I am such a person, but with my relatively new fiction shoes on, I find dialogue tough-any tips?


  2. #2
    Jean Bonifacios

    Re: Dialogue

    Say it outloud after you type it. Most dialogue comes across as unrealistic.

    Don't make your dialogue explain anything but the emotion.

    And the best advice I've ever received on this site is, proper english is NOT how most people talk, don't be afraid to use slang or "ebonics" in your dialogue.

    Good Luck!

  3. #3
    Ruairi Kavanagh

    Re: Dialogue

    Thanks, some more tricks for me to try.

    By saying that dialogue only should explain the emotion-do you mean that nothing narrative should be in dialogue-as in no major plot points should be described/revealed that way?

    Good tip on saying it out loud. Yes, people may think I'm mad but who isn't in this business.

    Thanks for your help

  4. #4
    Jean Bonifacios

    Re: Dialogue

    Well, what I mean about emotion is:

    Say my character is talking to her love interest about the roses he just gave her. (Warning: This is a stupid example)

    "Oh, Keith! These are beautiful, long-stem, red roses you have just given me! The crystal vase they came in will go nicely atop my dining room table!"

    Instead, let's realistically say, "Oh! These are beautiful!" Then you'll describe all that other crap in your narrative.

    And, my fellow WNer's, let's put that on the list of stupid examples.

    P.S. Keith, I'm not really a flower lover, just a nice porn and lobster dinner is my cup of tea!

  5. #5
    Breece Dillon

    Re: Dialogue

    "Say it outloud after you type it. Most dialogue comes across as unrealistic. "

    Bingo. Few people speak in complete sentences, let alone with perfect grammar. And if you listen for it, you'll hear many people "misspell" when they're talking. I think there's a fine balance between making something a fluid read and making it authentic-sounding. Reading it out loud is a great test to apply.

    Writers also fall into a trap of tacking on variants of:

    "...," she said.
    "...," he responded jokingly.
    "...," she replied angrily.
    "...," he said even more defensively.
    "...," she declared.
    "...," he bleated helplessly, terrified now of the threat of forced celibacy.

    If it's dialogue between two people, once the pattern is established, it isn't necessary to continue to identify the speaker, or to spoon feed the reader with the emotional content of the dialogue.

  6. #6
    Lisa P

    Re: Dialogue


    I'd go out more often if our local seafood restaurant served porn and lobster dinners.

    ; )

  7. #7
    Missy Cote

    Re: Dialogue

    Iím glad you wrote that Breece. I have been having some issues with tags myself. I thought that if it was obvious who was doing the speaking that a tag wasnít needed. Then someone else told me there should always be a tag.


    When Iím writing a story, for me itís almost like acting a part. I tend to take on the personality of my characters. I feel that this allows me to react and speak in a manor that is more realistic to their personalities. It almost makes me feel like I have multiple personality disorder sometimes. Lol But thatís not what we are talking about.

    I am a huge talker--no one has ever accused me of being too quiet--so when Iím writing dialogue I write like I would say it, if I were that person.


  8. #8
    Keith .

    Re: Dialogue

    Jean and Lisa,

    I'll grab the lobsters and wine and pick you guys up at eight. We'll make our own porn.

  9. #9
    judy spelbring

    Re: Dialogue

    I'll grab the lobsters and wine and pick you guys up at eight. We'll make our own porn.

    LOL! You all always make me laugh. I flip to this site when I need a break, and there is usually something posted that makes me smile.


  10. #10

    Re: Dialogue

    Keith, I am STUNNED that you intend to eat lobsters and make porn without including me. STUNNED, I tell ya!

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