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11
votes
4answers
14k 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, ...
6
votes
9answers
381 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. ...
2
votes
4answers
213 views

How to deal with cliche dialogue?

The following is from a story I'm writing: "Goodbye Choco," my mother said, to end the prayer, “may your soul rest in peace,” and crossed herself. “Sorry I couldn’t come earlier,” I said. ...
4
votes
5answers
675 views

How to balance for readers who are not technologically literate

My story features two software developers who discuss computer-based things in the first chapter. It's not a significant part of the story, but it helps to establish who the characters are and what ...
14
votes
6answers
2k views

Are modern authors still using colons and semicolons in dialogue?

Not sure if it's just my idea but I rarely see colons and semicolons in dialogue (especially in modern novels). Is it because they don't simulate normal speech? Because their use is more a semantic ...
2
votes
4answers
199 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
votes
5answers
121 views

How do I demonstrate ideological differences between characters who are politically not too different?

I'm currently writing a novel, in which two characters who are old friends are having an argument. I'm writing the argument to establish who the characters are and what their values are (the argument ...
3
votes
7answers
307 views

How do you effectively develop a plot when you have a proper back story?

I'm writing a sci-fi/fantasy story, which is arguably not yet a novel, and has general similarities with most fantasy stories. I have a back story set and a fairly good idea on how the story is ...
2
votes
4answers
109 views

Filter Words in Dialog

I realize there are lists of words that writers aren't supposed to use, but does the same apply to dialog? ...
3
votes
1answer
49 views

Stutter that changes words mid sentence

I wanted to have someone correct themselves mid-sentence, and I remembered some guides I read on the subject. They only seemed to allow only the most basic of stutters, but I want one where someone ...
6
votes
2answers
78 views

How to engage a child audience when my characters have no language?

Good afternoon all, I find myself in a predicament: I'm writing for 8-10 year-olds who, as I understand it, are very dependent upon dialogue to keep the story engaging. Unfortunately the protagonist ...
0
votes
2answers
34 views

How to correctly punctuate this dialogue?

I have some dialogue between two people (a clerk and a person called John Doe). I want the clerk to say to John: "You're John Doe. Still." So I've punctuated it like this: "You're John Doe. ...
2
votes
2answers
58 views

Which one is the correct dialogue punctuation format?

I am writing my first novel and this the very first confusion I would like to clarify. As I am not a native English speaker, I find it very hard to understand the punctuation scheme in direct ...
2
votes
4answers
225 views

Making characters multidimensional and unique. What can i do?

I'm writing a sci-fi/fantasy story and i have quite a number of characters that i want to deploy in the story. However, these characters should each have their own agendas in life, their own internal ...
4
votes
1answer
147 views

simultaneous dialogues in novels and short fiction

Suppose that several individuals are speaking. There are two conversations occurring at once in the same place. Both are heard simultaneously by each person that is present. Each person participates ...
4
votes
2answers
125 views

In a dialogue, how do you write that a character says a letter?

Since I don't know how to make the title less ambiguous, I will explain myself with examples. Example 1: imagine that in a dialogue between two mathematicians, one reads aloud the following sentence ...
5
votes
3answers
724 views

How to write a character who uses a lot of smalltalk without boring the reader?

Since a lot of what they say is by definition irrelevant to the plot should I just skim over it? I'm worried this might make their manner unclear to the reader and I don't want their impression of ...
0
votes
3answers
110 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
220 views

How to write a conversation

Conversation is the thing I have most difficulties with while writing stories. How do I write a conversation so it will be clear who said what, and in a way that's not like a court transcript? Should ...
-1
votes
1answer
49 views

Formatting for fading between a radio broadcast and the protagonist

Is it Ok to fade out the commentator’s voice before he’s finished his broadcast…? I’m trying to illustrate to the readers that the broadcast continues, whilst Jack and Richard go on with their ...
1
vote
3answers
146 views

Should I “spanglish” a Mexican character's dialogue?

I am working on a novel based in Mexico, and I am wondering if there are any strong opinions on whether or not I should put common phrases of speech in spanish even though all characters are speaking ...
6
votes
4answers
491 views

Children's Dialogue

I'm having some trouble writing dialogue (and emotive responses) for children in the age bracket of roughly 10-13. They end up reading more like adults with limited vocabularies and simple grammar ...
2
votes
3answers
83 views

A question about dialogue and paragraphs?

First question I've asked on here so hopefully it isn't a silly one. I am a little confused about a certain paragraph/dialogue convention I am using in something I am writing. Occasionally I have a ...
2
votes
1answer
72 views

How to format the following dialogue without the parenthesis?

So the protagonist's boyfriend committed suicide. He left a suicide note. And now the detective is showing it to the protagonist: "So I'm the one who made him do it? "We read the letter. ...
0
votes
2answers
80 views

How to structure paragraphs of dialogue properly?

I have two ways of writing dialogue. (1st way) Issac said in an angry tone, "I don't care what you want! Just leave me alone!" However, I comforted him and said, "All I care for is you. I can't ...
1
vote
4answers
142 views

Am I using too much dialogue?

In some of my writing, nearly every paragraph is pure dialogue, with very little exposition or description. On one hand, I feel like it flows smoothly, with little distraction, but on the other, I'm ...
3
votes
9answers
3k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
162 views

Good idea to write a scene with just pure dialogue exchange?

I'm sure you don't remember me. Asked quiet a few questions a year ago. Never came back for round 2. Was working on your advices. Writing. I'm nearing the climax of my novel. There's a scene. Sort ...
5
votes
1answer
121 views

How can I add emphasis in an internal dialogue, given that I am already using italics for character thoughts?

In a novel I am currently writing, characters frequently express thoughts. Following the advice I found here, which states: "Never use quotation marks for thoughts, even if those thoughts are inner ...
0
votes
1answer
124 views

Does the following dialogue sound stiff and formal?

This is a dialogue from a short story I'm writing: Finally, a log caught fire, followed by the rest. And in no time Paola and I had a display of dancing flames before us, their warmth entering ...
7
votes
3answers
185 views

Should I write Internet slang as it is spoken or as it is written?

I'm writing a sci-fi novel where some of the characters are computer hackers. In some of the conversations they use the term "owned" which has a broad set of meanings in English. So I wonder if I ...
12
votes
6answers
3k views

Dialog, just what's the best way to write it?

I've come across the following conventions: "What’s this for?" asked Jake. Sue replied, "None of your business." He shrugged his shoulders. "Well, it looks darned funny sitting here." "It’s ...
1
vote
2answers
84 views

Normal structure for Dialogue paragraphs

Now I'm not sure whether this is something that's an accepted teaching with regards to structuring paragraphs, or just something that is commonly used... I'm talking about paragraphs that are ...
7
votes
8answers
4k 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. ...
3
votes
2answers
323 views

How to handle speech within speech?

If I'm writing a sentence such as: "I was talking to Alison the other day she said 'I like your shirt!'" Lisa commented. Here Lisa is quoting Alison, how should Alison's speech be punctuated? ...
3
votes
2answers
85 views

Referring to sign language in conversations

I am writing a story in which one of the main characters is deaf and dumb, and therefore communicates with other lead using sign language. Being not a native speaker of English, I am having trouble ...
2
votes
3answers
282 views

Writing dialogue for a non-English speaker in English?

I am writing a story that features an illiterate Indian woman. Of course, while there are things only Hindi can satisfactorily express, I was wondering what would be a good way to construct dialogues ...
1
vote
1answer
84 views

How should you format short speech by consecutive speakers?

I understand that you should have a new paragraph for a new speaker however what should the indentation be with subsequent speakers like this? I have this case in my writing, each is currently ...
0
votes
1answer
96 views

Creating Dialogue [closed]

So I've decided to become an Author. Frankly I have respect for the learning curve. My biggest problem that I have run into thus far is the conversations between characters. So I would like to ask ...
4
votes
3answers
403 views

Starting a novel with internal dialogue?

What are your thoughts about having the first sentence in a novel be internal dialogue? What are the potential problems this could raise? what are the benefits? By internal dialogue i mean something ...
3
votes
4answers
340 views

Quotes or no, for Hiccup

I have a character unleash a monster hiccup in a scene. I'd like advice regarding whether or not it should be in quotes. Here's the scene, in summary "Hiccup!" Jane tried not to look embarrassed. ...
1
vote
3answers
416 views

How should I write “shush” in a narrative?

I said shshshsh! I know I could say shush, but there are times when I really have to say shshshshsh. What would be the best way of writing this. Maybe Shhhhhh?
9
votes
7answers
1k views

How do I make an ESL character sound realistic?

I have to write an assignment in which there's an English character talking with a English as a Second Language (ESL) character. It is turning out really, really badly. I have a general idea of what ...
5
votes
2answers
287 views

Shouting in a question

How do I express shouting in a question? In a non-question sentence, I just put an exclamation mark at the end and/or use words like "shouted"/"yelled"/etc in the "said" tag and it feels fine. But ...
2
votes
1answer
66 views

Can a statement that is incorrect still characterize someone as wise?

This is a discussion I had with another writer. In a screenplay, a young man who is being led astray by a charismatic character lies to that person's wife to avoid exposing the other character's ...
5
votes
2answers
152 views

Script Writing as it pertains to TV and Radio lines

If a Radio or TV needs to be audible. How is that written in a Script? Is it written like the characters, or is written in the description in parentheses?
1
vote
2answers
160 views

Should write “I/he/she said” in dialogue with ambiguous action tags?

I'm not very sure if they count as dialogue tags. Here's an example: “Sorry if I made you uncomfortable,” Akiko suddenly said, placing her hand on my mine. “But you know me, I just keep going ...
1
vote
3answers
134 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
262 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
362 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 ...