He said, she said, or what your characters are saying.

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147 views

A good approach to show dialogues over radio communication?

The novel's in first person. I'm working on a scene where there are five people dispersed on different floors of a building, all talking to each other via tiny mics and micro-earpieces. The ...
7
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3answers
1k views

Why do writers use “said” instead of “asked” when someone asks a question?

I often see writers use "said" instead of "asked" when their character asks a question. e.g. From The Hobbit: “Where else should I be?” said the wizard Is it a mistake that hasn't been caught ...
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3answers
1k views

How can I make a person sound sick?

How do you distort words into sounding sick, as in with the cold? I want it to be a really comical scene, but I'm not sure how to write it. Do I replace some letters with others or remove certain ...
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4answers
568 views

Can I use parenthesis in a conversation

I wrote a dialogue as follows: Then he said to her: "I told you I won't do that! (And I think you shouldn't either)". Somebody then asked me: How is a speech in a parenthesis? I'd like to know ...
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3answers
168 views

Is it okay to mention a person's nationality and accent only once or twice in a story?

For example, if you have a guy whos is an Indian (from India), and you say something like, Sukant answered in his Northern Bhojpuri accent, "Yes. It is indeed true. Many people come into my store ...
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2answers
389 views

What are good examples of backstory in natural dialogue?

Does anyone have good examples from modern day fiction where backstory is given to the reader in a "good" way? I'm trying to get a feel for what sounds natural in writing. In real life there are ...
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2answers
406 views

Conversation with Multiple Characters

I'm writing a dialogue heavy scene. The protagonist has met with a group of mercenaries that he spent a great deal of his younger days with. He doesn't come to them for a catch-up however, he has ...
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5answers
108 views

Where should I put a minor action within a piece of dialogue?

Which is more appropriate: The air carried a bitter chill, but was clear and unpolluted. “Oh wow,” I said. “I know how Black Friday has a reputation for crowds, but this takes it to a new ...
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1answer
152 views

Do characters sound too similar if they use the same words/expressions?

This is the draft of a story I'm writing (I removed the descriptions): “Sure they allow visitors?” I asked An-Mei as we headed to the pond. “It's OK,” she said. “It's not solitary ...
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6answers
339 views

Is it possible to write a novel completely devoid of dialogue?

I am in the process of writing a novel, and I'm just trying to get some ideas and thought on this. I am not sure yet if I want to completely remove all dialogue, but at this point I feel that dialogue ...
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3answers
2k views

How to depict Australian characters

In my working novel, a character encounters an Aussie. Having nigh-zero knowledge of how to make dialogues in an Australian accent, I just opted to describe that he talks without any hints of an ...
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5answers
506 views

How to make a debate/discussion between characters less dry?

I've asked questions in the past about dialogue and I've read some questions about balancing dialogue with plot, however I have discovered yet another corner case in my writing. In my story Cured, the ...
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4answers
223 views

How to convey that the POV character *does not understand* what's said in dialogue?

The general advice is often to focus on the content of what's said in dialogue and just write it in the reader's language, largely whether the characters would use that language or not in-universe. ...
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8answers
5k views

Is it permissible to write a short story with little or no dialogue?

We are writing a short story based on the antagonist in our novel, a sort of extended back story if you will. We are now three chapers in and still have not found the need to introduce any dialogue. ...
2
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4answers
265 views

Really Stuck: Writing Dialogue

I am currently working on my first novel so forgive me for making what is probably considered the mistake of a 'novice'. My novel is set in the present, however my antagonist has a history dating back ...
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2answers
390 views

How to shorten meandering dialogue?

My story Cured (which I've asked about before, but has undergone major revisions since then), has an extremely large section of dialogue that annoys my beta tester. I agree with her that it should be ...
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2answers
179 views

Changing the way one addresses a character in a dialogue to create variation

I wrote the following dialogue: After a moment, Eri's mother appeared from the kitchen, carrying a tray with miso soup. Eri was startled by the amount of food. Her parents were definitely ...
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3answers
558 views

Making a female character sound more boyish/masculine

There are two characters in the following dialogue. One of them (Yuki) is a tomboy. She has short hair, dresses like a man, and like girls. I want to make her sound more masculine (but not exactly ...
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3answers
1k views

Is it correct to use verbs like “sighed” and “laughed” as dialogue tags?

In other words, is it correct to write something like this: "Oh," he laughed. "Sorry, I'm not sure what's with me today." (Every time I see something like this, I think: "How is this peson ...
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3answers
113 views

How to do dialogue?

Whenever I'm writing, I use this style: "I don't see why I have to put up with this nonsense." I muttered. However, I see this type of writing in books: "This room is full of idiots," he ...
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9answers
4k views

Is dialogue in a novel necessary, or just padding?

I can usually tell the story I want to in less than 10,000 words. I'd really like to accomplish writing a novel and I have a complex idea I want to use and explore, but I am worried I won't need ...
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4answers
2k views

How to format dialogue with an embedded long monologue

I use the following formats for dialogues: dialogue dialogue - describing action (if any) dialogue - describing action (if any) - more dialogue (if any) There is a chapter in my book that is ...
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3answers
493 views

Background speech with foreground dialogue

A few days ago, I stumbled upon an issue of the type; meaning I had two characters talking between themselves and another character talking in the background; actually delivering a speech. What the ...
2
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3answers
510 views

Is it unusual for a flashback to have a very long dialogue?

This flashback is from a short story I'm writing (unedited first draft): I met Limei last summer. Our class had organized a graduation trip to Green Island, where we stayed for fourteen days and ...
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1answer
126 views

A more effective way of writing this dialogue:

I'm translating a story, and there is scene in it where an ex-colleague asks the man who had slapped the female protagonist the reason for his doing so. In reply, all he says is something like, “What ...
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5answers
289 views

Putting a dialogue a tag before a quote

Sometimes I see stuff like this: X said, "..." "..." X did this, and then said, "..." Is it used to just vary sentence structure? Or to make dialogue more readable or smoother in certain ...
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9answers
390 views

Should dull dialogue be removed completely?

The following dialogue is from a novel I'm writing (first draft): "You're quiet tonight," Erin said to Benjamin, who seemed to be lost in thoughts. He looked up and took a sip of his drink. ...
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3answers
81 views

Should I close this quoted paragraph?

I have a paragraph of dialog which technically continues into the next paragraph, but I want to interject a "she continued" almost immediately into the second paragraph. So should I close the quote on ...
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2answers
284 views

Do the characters in the following dialogue sound the same?

The following unedited dialogue is from a novel I'm writing (which is based on a short story I wrote a while ago): "I hope it's not an inappropriate question," Icaro said, after hesitating for a ...
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4answers
18k views

Must every piece of speech get its own paragraph?

I've had a few people read pieces of narrative writing I've done, and they seem to take issue with the fact that I sometimes put a piece of speech inline with the rest of a non-dialogue paragraph, ...
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4answers
1k views

avoiding making all your characters sound the same

We surely all have little quirks to our speech. Like my daughter once criticized my writing for using the word "surely" too much. (See, I used it on this post.) So how do you keep all your characters ...
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6answers
1k views

alternatives to “he said” in dialog

I'm working on my first fiction story. And one mechanical thing I struggle with is how to identify the speakers in dialog without constantly saying "Bob said", "Mary said", etc. Any ideas? That is, I ...
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5answers
3k views

Using dashes in writing dialogue

Does anyone use em dashes (or two hyphens) to denote speakers in dialogue passages? Joyce does this as does William Gaddis. Many others. I practice it, but my only "conceptual understanding" is that ...
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2answers
840 views

Striking the balance between dialogue and narrative

I am participating in National Novel Writing Month this year. I have never in my life written so much of a single story. Although I am supposed to tell my inner editor to shut up this month, she is ...
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3answers
350 views

Deciding whether to use a dialogue tag or an action tag in a dialogue

Example: "I'm not saying you don't know what you are talking about," he said, then looked at her and shrugged his shoulders. "But I don't know what you are talking about." "I'm not saying ...
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3answers
384 views

Is going 'off-topic' a sign of bad dialogue?

I always wondered if going off-topic in a dialogue is a bad or a normal thing. For example, let's say I'm writing a novel where the main theme is love and loss. Is it bad if the characters start ...
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2answers
795 views

Is this dialogue and situation intriguing (short story)?

This is the continuation of a story I mentioned in a previous story. I would like to know if the reader would feel intrigued by the dialogue and situation (a girl who seems to be a stripper is lying ...
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0answers
226 views

Parenthetical phrases within dialog [closed]

I'm curious about the history and use of parenthetical phrases within dialog. I offer two contrasting examples: An example of an "unvoiced" parenthetical phrase inside dialog from Pride and ...
5
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3answers
272 views

How to plan dialog and keep it on track?

When I'm writing a plotline, it often works out that I know two characters will be meeting each other in a particular scene, and that they will converse. And I oftentimes know the central idea of what ...
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2answers
242 views

How to improve the ending of my short novel (mostly dialogue)? [closed]

In a previous question, I asked about how to improve the opening of my short novel. The following is the ending: "Can I talk about something that makes me feel strange?" he asked while searching ...
2
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1answer
243 views

Does there have to be a difference when writing different genders? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: The opposite sex in first person? How to write realistic female dialogue Is there an inherent difference in how man and women speak that would translate to writing ...
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5answers
694 views

How does one present spoken dialogue as a secondary language to signed speech?

I was starting to leave a comment on this excellent question when I realized I had come up with a second question which was equally intriguing. If you're writing a story where 95% of the ...
9
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2answers
694 views

How does one include sign language in a dialogue?

If one character is using sign language and lip reading while the other is speaking normally, how do you represent the lines of the former? Quotations with "he signed" attribution or italics? E.g. ...
3
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4answers
282 views

Attributives in dialogue

I normally stick with "he said" and "she said" to keep things simple and transparent to the reader but wondering about questions. Is "she asked" and "he asked" appropriate when a character asks a ...
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3answers
5k views

How to create varying, yet realistic, speech patterns

Different characters speak differently. If someone reads me a letter written by an immediate relative, I can tell right away who wrote it. I believe --and correct me if I'm wrong-- that giving each ...
9
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9answers
2k views

How to write realistic female dialogue

I just can't make my dialogue sound like it's being said by a woman. As a friend of mine pointed out, "This woman talks just like you, Jack." I tried imitating the speech patterns of various females ...
3
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3answers
594 views

How to write English in Merlin (TV Series) style?

I find the writing style of the show Merlin to be very good, and much better than current/modern English usage. Details about the show can be found at IMDB's Merlin page, and Wikipedia's entry about ...
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4answers
584 views

How can I accurately represent young adult dialogue?

There was a recent question that caused quite a stir around here, not so much for the question itself, but more the purpose of the question. That aside, there was a valid question being asked, and it ...
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1answer
397 views

How can I write dialog to express groveling?

How can you write dialog where someone is groveling? I'm thinking of something like this: "Why were you late for work? Explain yourself." "Sorry" The response would be the person ...
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8answers
1k views

Dialogue writing practices?

First time novelist, long time writer here. I'm looking for creative writing exercises to help with my dialogue. Any ideas?