Posts tagged dialog
Posts tagged dialog
This post is not about whether said should be used as often as possible (it should).
I’ve noticed that a lot of people have trouble attributing dialog without sticking “he said” (or any other dialogue tag) at the end of every set of quotation marks, which gets repetitive. Ending dialogue tags are inelegant and often unnecessary, and should be used with prudence.
Yesterday, I got rejected by Space and Time. Soon after the e-mail came in, I took a good, hard look at my short story to see if I could improve anything for the next magazine I submitted it to (Lightspeed Magazine). It mostly looked good, but one thing I noticed was that when I wrote the dialogue between the two main characters, I wasn’t keeping certain things in mind that I should have. Hopefully, you guys can learn from my mistakes. Here are some things you should think about while writing dialogues.
With these in mind, your dialogues should turn out much more realistic.
The follower of the day is optionalcake.
If I met you right now and we got to talking, I might steer the conversation towards humor and jokes, since it’s something everybody can relate to. Maybe I would share some of my favorite websites with you or have a lengthy discussion about books once we got to know each other. I would do these things not because books and websites and jokes are important things that you have to know about but instead because I’m the kind of person who naturally converses about such topics.
The same should hold true for your characters. You’re not expected to include every little conversation they make about the humdrum things in their lives, but when they talk, it should be them talking, not the plot. I’ve written earlier about how characters say things, but what they say is just as important.
When you write dialogue, you really need to ask yourself if your character would really say what you’re having them say. If they wouldn’t, there are better ways to advance the plot. There isn’t a single villain in the universe who would tell his plan again to a room of people who have already heard it and “excuse” his behavior by prefacing the plan with “As you already know.” The same applied for heroes: if your boyfriend already has a firm grasp on what your powers do, you aren’t going to explain them again when you actually use them.
Exposition and plot development are fine and dandy, but they should only emerge from dialogue if the character would actually say those things.
The follower of the day is mycurrentproblem.