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4

As any deaf person will tell you, sign language is speech. How else are you going to tell your story if you don't report the communication that does take place? Bearkiller signed: "Walk quiet. There is a mammut ahead." Darkwalker nodded. "I'll circle to the left," he gestured. And don't argue about this again, his face said. Bearkiller frowned, ...


3

I believe there is no "recipe" with which to cook up three-dimensional characters. However, since "good" characters - realistic, believable, full of faults, contradictions, anxieties and passions - are what I value above all in a story and what I put most effort in, here is how I develop my characters: Start with an idea. What kind of story do you want to ...


3

The answer is easy when the pronunciation of a single letter or acronym is known to your readers. For example, we all had maths in school, we know what what a "variable x" means and how to pronounce it. In a case like this you can use the conventions familiar to all of us and write the variable name as it is written in all the school books of the western ...


3

In my experience (in real life), some of the most bitter arguments are between people who whose positions are, objectively speaking, quite close. In this case, you've already outlined a key difference between these characters --whether cooperation with the military is acceptable. I can't foresee any trouble in drawing these two into a huge fight --just make ...


3

The difference is that the first sentence doesn't have a tag. It's a line of dialogue followed by a complete sentence. The second sentence is dialogue followed by a dialogue tag. Your first set of examples is punctuated correctly — when you use a tag, the dialogue ends in a comma, and the tag starts with a lowercase letter. This also applies to ...


3

In real life, a person will always focus on one speaker at a time. This person may get distracted and switch his attention to another speaker while the first is still talking, but he is aware of this change of focus and it is marked for him by the sound of the voice, and maybe the face of the speaker, so it is never as confusing as unmarked written dialogue, ...


2

Speech is simply communication. Your characters communicate and all you need to do as a writer is make clear what is being communicated. I once read a fantastic children's story to some children. Teddy never actually says anything but communicates on every page. "We should get biscuits to make us brave" said Joe. Teddy indicated that he agreed. ...


2

I too would revise your sentence, but by placing the attribution first. The clerk, with whom John had spoken a few times before, said, "You're John Doe. Still." "Yes, I am."


2

I suggest you revise your current question to reflect a more general nature. Ask how quotes like this can be revised to achieve the effect you desire. "You're John Doe. Still." The clerk raised an eyebrow. The trick is to just end the sentence. Find some action (sigh, motion, whatever) for the clerk to do in the next sentence.


1

Adding to @LaurenIpsum: Keep in mind that different countries punctuate differently. From this source: American style uses double quotes (“) for initial quotations, then single quotes (‘) for quotations within the initial quotation. “Economic systems,” according to Professor White, “are an inevitable byproduct of civilization, and are, as John ...


1

It should go without saying that some of these other answers have very valuable advice that is definitely worth reading. When people "debate" it is rarely calm and cool headed. It rarely stays on topic and quite often comes from the fact that the basic assumptions which each has hitherto assumed the other also held are different. This is a great time to ...


1

Let's call them Monty the Moderate and Larry the Left-Winger for the sake of discussion... I think both your charaters are less left-wing and anti-war than you think they are. If Monty is willing to train soldiers to be better assassins, that's not being anti war. That's being practical, or perhaps utilitarian: This war is ongoing; let's minimize the ...


1

Some of the other answers have done a great job at addressing the topic of good characters in general, so this focuses specifically on the dialogue: In my opinion, great dialogue is all about subtext. When people talk to each other, what's going on in the words is rarely the whole conversation. Mood, hidden goals and desires, mutual history, personality, ...


1

Plot... Story... blah blah blah. You're talking about a journey. You're talking about a quest. You're talking about a goal, a conflict, and a resolution. What I don't like is the use of the term "filler content". You can't go into a story thinking like that. Everything you write has to be important, every sentence should define a character or the world, or ...



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