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

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1answer
5 views

Quotes around long backstory narrated by a character

I am working on a novel in which the characters talk to the protagonist and explain lot of backstory. It can run into tens of pages - essentially the entire story is told by the character to the ...
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0answers
11 views

Making a disinterested character speak

In the novel I am working on, there are few major characters who are in position of power, and are not interested in speaking to the protagonist at all. What are some techniques using which we can ...
10
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5answers
1k views

How should dialog be formatted?

Is there any "official" rule that I should keep in mind when formatting character dialog? Line breaks, placement of quotes, mixing dialog with action descriptions etc. For example, I want to build a ...
9
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7answers
500 views

How realistic should dialogue and character voices be?

I've heard a lot of conflicting suggestions in the past regarding dialogue, so I'm hoping I can get a solid answer here. Some people have told me that the best way to go about dialogue is to make it ...
2
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5answers
61 views

First person POV “mom:” vs. “mother”

This may seem like a duplicate of Changing the way one addresses a character in a dialogue to create variation, but it the answers there did not apply. My question is: When writing in the first ...
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2answers
21 views

Writing dialogue, present or past tense “said”

This may seem like an off-topic question, but it's really more about writing than about the grammar. I use a lot of dialogue in my writing, sometimes too much, but while I'm writing it, though the ...
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3answers
50 views

Do you have any tips on describing dialogue?

Specifically, how to describe a person's voice or tone of speaking, and ideas on how dialogue should be formatted.
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3answers
67 views

Need help with hospital dialogue

I'm writing a story where the main character gets burned pretty badly. He's admitted into the hospital, and he's on a trolley, which is moving. He just got in, and he's in critical condition. I'm ...
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2answers
41 views

The order of says in the present tense

Here are two lines of dialog: "I don't know what order to put this in," says Max. "I don't know what order to put this in," Max says. When is it better to use one over the other? Is one preferred ...
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1answer
40 views

Formatting dialogue and single lines

Consider the following exchange: "Hello" "Hi" They were sitting on the bench. The dialogue lines are indented. Should the descriptive sentence also be indented? What if we had "Hello" ...
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10answers
6k 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 75,...
2
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4answers
270 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. ...
3
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5answers
260 views

How would a knight act around a princess?

In my current book, the main character is a knight and in one of the beginning scenes, he interacts with the princess. He's intimidated because of who she is (royalty) and acts very formal around her ...
2
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4answers
140 views

What is the best practice for writing a character that speaks with a whistle lisp?

For a character that whistles when pronouncing the "s" sound, how can I write in the lisp effectively? I tried using multiple "S"s, but it reads as a snake-like sound, which I don't want since there ...
1
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1answer
30 views

capitalisation after punctuation in dialogue

I've seemed to have a problem with getting this right and doubting myself. In regards to writing dialogue, do you follow up with capitalisation after punctuation marks? Can someone tell me which is ...
3
votes
3answers
83 views

Internal Dialog - First or Second Person

I'm writing a story in third person. When writing internal dialog, should I use first person or second person? Does it matter? Should I be consistent in the entire story? Should I be consistent for a ...
0
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1answer
84 views

Writing first person or third person limited for steampunk? YA

I have a phobia of decision making and am asking for your help. I want to write a YA steampunk book with lots of made up stuff. Now, fantasy isn't really written in the first person, but I want to try ...
3
votes
2answers
68 views

Transcibing a fictional pictograph based language

I'm a fresh pup to this site and I have a bit of a quagmire at my fingertips. My novel takes place in a dystopian future approximately half a century from the modern day. Consumerism and promotional ...
3
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2answers
56 views

Handling small bits of background story

I have a scene in which two characters are introduced to the reader. They met once before at a party, prior to the start of the story. In the following excerpt, I add a short explanation of that first ...
2
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2answers
145 views

How to convey (screaming) hysterics in dialogue

It happens to most if not all of us. Something extremely emotional happens to us and we're just hysterical. Logic doesn't work. You contemplate punching a wall because that will help . . . somehow. ...
2
votes
1answer
23 views

Formatting a Story Teller's Dialog

I'm writing a short story in which a story teller (the possibly-historic Aesop) addresses an audience. He tells his short story (within my short story), after which I will describe dialog between him ...
2
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4answers
143 views

When a character tells a long story, is it always an info dump?

I have two characters who don't get along and are sniping at each other from the moment they meet in the book. Throughout the story, they keep ramping it up. At a certain point, one character is still ...
12
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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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2answers
80 views

Gerund Overkill

I like to use gerunds in my writing and I wonder if I'm overdoing it. I wrote this paragraph: I couldn’t help thinking to myself, who is this woman on the phone? And if it’s not Burns’ mother then ...
2
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1answer
89 views

Show the translation of foreign language thoughts in a manuscript?

Background Part of an English story takes place in rural South America, where Spanish is the native tongue. Problem A Spanish character thinks to himself. In English (i.e., in the story's native ...
3
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5answers
123 views

What aspects of written dialogue are important when giving characters a unique voice?

I have a project that I am working on in which I need to write quite a few fictional informal email correspondences between pairs of characters. I am not using these characters in any other context. ...
2
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1answer
159 views

Does dialogue always need to have its own line?

I am doing stuff like this: "That's nice," he said. We went to the car and got our laptops and logged into Stack Exchange. and He stood up and looked me in the eyes. I could tell he was ...
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0answers
19 views

What aspects of written dialogue are important when giving characters a unique voice? [duplicate]

I have a project that I am working on in which I need to write quite a few fictional informal email correspondences between pairs of characters. I am not using these characters in any other context. ...
3
votes
2answers
118 views

Using comma splices in dialogue

At university, it was drilled into us to avoid comma splices like the plague, but I keep seeing them in all different types of famous, best-selling novels. I read things (all in dialogue, in inverted ...
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5answers
125 views

A self-absorbed female character: key words and pet phrases needed [closed]

I'm stumped. I can't come up with anything beyond "You're hurting my feelings" and "I'm not in a good place right now." Suggestions?
2
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0answers
50 views

Fallacy of relative privation? Propaganda device? Unobtrusive slander? What is it? [closed]

I've asked this on EL&U: some of the answers were close, but no cigar. I'm looking for a term that one of the characters in my play will use to describe her enemy's dirty tactics. It is a very ...
2
votes
2answers
114 views

When not to use commas before dialogue (and capitals)

I'm struggling with when to omit the comma before dialogue (as well as when to use capitals) in fiction writing. My understanding is that you would omit the comma before/after something like "he says" ...
0
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4answers
114 views

How Much Dialogue Is Too Much Dialogue

I wanted to know How Much Dialogue Is Too Much Dialogue ? I'm writing chapter and i can't really seem to trim my dialogues since my all 4 of my characters are to talk to each other and interact with ...
9
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3answers
1k 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. ...
12
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4answers
39k 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, ...
5
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1answer
62 views

How does one indicate uncertainty in a quote?

When quoting the spoken word, and if one particular word is difficult to distinguish, how does one properly indicate the uncertainty if that particular word has been quoted correctly? The following ...
8
votes
5answers
947 views

Using colons and semi-colons in dialogue

I've often heard writers say they don't like using colons and semi-colons in dialogue specifically. I don't often see colons and semi-colons in dialogue, but sometimes it just seems like it's by far ...
1
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3answers
68 views

How do I write dialogue to evoke a historical setting?

I want to write a novel set in the 12th century. I can learn about the platform for the story, like city life and culture of people at that time, by googling on Internet. But I don't know how to write ...
1
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1answer
75 views

Dialogue identifying the character that is currently speaking

I am writing a novel, and I am trying to find the right dialogue tags for identifying the character that is currently speaking. Here are some examples of two forms, and I am unable to decide which one ...
2
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1answer
35 views

Question about punctuation and action tags

I'm new here and a new writer in general. I'm trying to get a handle on action tags and punctuation and I'm wondering about these two examples: Claire huffs out a heavy breath, then speaks. ”I ...
2
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1answer
162 views

How do I write in the language of a strict, serious character without using too much exposition?

I am working on a series of short stories and am having trouble bringing out the characteristics of one of my characters in descriptions and in his dialogue. My story is set in South Korea. One ...
0
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1answer
35 views

2 points of view at the same time

I am writing a book about lions and other African predators. The main focus in the one I am working on is lions, but I do quite often refer to 2 big cats that aren't lions. Those are cheetahs and ...
1
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2answers
120 views

writing dialogues using contracted forms of auxiliary verbs

where should we use contracted forms while writing dialogues? how do we chose which is better (say 'do not' or 'don't') in a particular situation while we are writing dialogues in our fiction?
2
votes
3answers
168 views

Angry tone of voice in a question

I am writing a story about friendly lions. It all starts with this 1 friendly lion searching for nomadic lionesses. His name is Anapumua Moto. He has a cheetah friend named Duma and a leopard friend ...
0
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1answer
75 views

Multiple personalities character's speach in text

I am writing about main character, which have multiple personalities. I know how i want to write them, but for reader it can be really disturbing and hard to for orientation. At the same time i will ...
0
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2answers
79 views

Punctuation before / after em dash and speech mark

I originally posted this question on the main English forum, but someone suggested it might be better posted here. Apologies if I have broken any forum rules. As I home in on the end of my first ...
2
votes
2answers
224 views

First conversation scenes I've written (looking for errors, conventions, and improvements according to writing standards)

I would like to know if I'm doing something wrong (according to writing standards) in the following conversation and how to improve it to help readability, quality and feeling (making it more ...
4
votes
3answers
293 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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1answer
83 views

How to write an instructor instructing others about complicated tasks?

I am want to write scenes in a story which include one character providing instruction to other characters on how to perform complicated tasks that require a lot of technical detail and applied step-...
2
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5answers
127 views

Spacing out dialogue?

I'm an amateur writer. Whenever I write, I tend to put in too much dialogue and not enough story. What are some techniques I can use to space out my dialogue? Thanks in advance.