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"You really don't have to place the character's name first," Larry said. John scratched his head. "You mean the reader can probably understand who is saying what without knocking them over the head with it?" "Sure they can. I mean the writer isn't even telling you who is speaking now and you know who it is." "Right," John said. ...


8

No. All that is required is that the reader know who is speaking. The conventions of dialogue do a good job of that. Bob continued, "blah blah blah." "But wait", Sue asked, "what about blah blah blah?" "Blah!" "Blah?" He growled, "no, blah!" And so on. Each change of speaker gets a new paragraph. If there are only two, you can ...


4

What is churning like sand in my inner ear is the "wanted comma asked" in all three examples. These are all fine: "Where have you been?" he asked. "Where have you been?" John asked. "Where have you been?" asked John. This is better: "Why is it you always show up when you are not wanted?" Areon stared at me intently. The pause caused by ...


2

You could try looking into spoken language. Record some actual dialogue and then study it. Look at the differences between spoken and written language. Look at the linguistic areas called pragmatics and speech act theory. You don't want to write completely realistic spoken language -- that is boring, often doesn't make sense, etc. -- but the knowledge you ...


2

I find the key to dialog is subtext. People are generally communicating at more than one level, and if you don't convey that in your dialog, it sounds unnatural. Sexual tension, power struggles, rivalry, regret --all can be lurking under the surface of even the most innocuous smalltalk. Even if this isn't always the case in real life, it makes for more ...


2

Keep writing dialogue. Not using dialogue is not an option. In rare cases, the characters might be fully established by their (mute) actions, but I repeat: This is rare. Although we usually rely on our sight much more heavily than on our other senses, it's mainly language through which we establish communication. How to improve stiff, unnatural dialogue? ...


2

First develop your plot from start to finish. Divide the story into scenes. Then develop your characters and give them the appropriate dialog at the appropriate moments. This way, no matter how much dialog you write, it won't hinder you from the plot, which you will have already done. Then as you begin to edit your story, delete everything that doesn't ...


1

Why do you believe you have too much dialogue? To take the question to an extreme, have you ever read a play? It's all dialogue, and yet plot happens. Now, I understand you're not trying to write a play. But if your strong point is good dialogues, why not work with it? You can write the dialogue, then add descriptions of how your characters said something, ...


1

If there's "not enough story," that's your primary problem. If the story is solid, how much dialogue to include is a simpler choice. Where did you get the idea that there is not enough story? Reader feedback? One way to think of dialogue is that it is an action (forget about Tarantino style banter for now). If you are letting the reader know about verbal ...


1

It's a judgement call. You can certainly combine dialogue and actions in the same paragraph, and it's generally a good idea to do so when writing about someone giving a speech. But as you said, the "wall of text" is also a potential problem. The speech your character is giving will probably have separate ideas in it, times when you would make a paragraph ...


1

A sentence has a subject and a verb, sometimes an object. He recites. (Subject: he; Verb: recites) She throws a book. (Subject: She; Verb: throws; Object: a book) A sentence fragment is missing some part of that. Ran down the street. (Verb: ran; no subject) His impossibly high cheekbones. (Object: cheekbones; no subject or verb) Full ...



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