Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

12

The short, cop-out answer is: It depends. Longer explanation is: It depends on the type of novel you're writing, and also on your skill level as an author. It's possible, and common enough, to have none if you're writing the kind of novel that's epistolary (written communication, eg. letters, reports, postcards) or a monologue from the main character(s). ...


9

The classic solution is to introduce conflict or tension. These naturally intrigue the reader and command his attention. Any conflict, no matter how minor or subtle, is enough to engage the reader's curiosity to find out what happens next. In this context, "conflict" and "tension" are pretty much any negative outcome to the conversation that your ...


9

Then he said to her: "I told you I won't do that!” In an undertone, he added, “And I think you shouldn’t either.” Unfortunately, I think that’s the best you can do. I’ve hardly ever seen parentheses used as punctuation within dialogue, so if I saw it now, I would have no idea how to interpret them.


9

It's stylistic. You can use either. "Said" isn't wrong. Some writers feel very strongly about "bookisms," which is using words instead of "said" which tend to be more elaborate and give some action to speaking. (hissed, crooned, muttered, sighed, barked, laughed, snarled, grumbled) Personally I'm fine with them if they are used appropriately and ...


9

Not all ESL speakers will sound the same, for the simple reason that they all had a first language. If you want to add realism, you need to determine what language they natively speak. Your native language shapes your ideas of tense, sentence structure, and what phonemes you're used to considering as actual word-sounds and not mere noise. Some oriental ...


8

I don't have a problem with them (they're called bookisms, I believe) if: You don't overdo it. It's tempting to make every dialogue tag something vivid or extra. Don't. D.W. Smith pointed out in a writing tutorial once that "the word said is invisible." It really is. Be judicious with bookisms. Think of them as salt: a little is good; too much ruins the ...


8

If your antagonist is living in the present time (but is 1000 years old), then is there any reason to believe that his speech hasn't evolved? Think about what happens to people when they move to a new place with language patterns different from the ones they grew up with; don't they tend to adapt? That said, people adapt slowly, and a 1000-year-old ...


8

Your title, first sentence, paragraph, page, and chapter are your hooks to catch the reader. Make sure they are baited well. So, if you start with internal monologue, it had better be interesting, not just bland, random thoughts about how it's high up on the wherever. I realize that was just an example, but compare: Bad: "It's so high up here," thought ...


7

You absolutely can write a story with no dialogue. You also can write a story using only dialogue. You can and may do anything you wish in a work of fiction. That's what fiction is about. You have free rein. It is your story. And, importantly, it is a work of art. Would anyone have told Leonardo that he couldn't give the Mona Lisa that mysterious smile? ...


7

@Lexi makes a good point here; dialogue is a vital tool to express a character's personality, opinions and so on in a "show" way rather than a "tell" way. Dialogue enables us to connect directly to the characters. Reported speech has its place, but it makes it feel like I'm sitting here and you're telling me what happened, when what I really want is to ...


7

If you end the quote with a period, that makes it a complete sentence. And that turns: I muttered. into a second sentence. If you want to indicate that he (or I) muttered the words between the quotation marks, then yes, you must end the quoted words with a comma.


7

I can think of at least two ways to demonstrate your character's nationality and accent without having to mention it constantly or write the dialogue crazily: 1) There is a difference between accent and dialect. Accent is more or less the generally recognized version of the language, taught in textbooks, but with regional flavor to pronunciation. Maybe ...


7

If you really feel the need to have whatever noise she makes expressed as dialogue, I would write it as "Hic!" However, I personally would either write it as Hic! to indicate it's more of a sound than speech, or just relate it narratively: Jane hiccuped loudly, startling even herself. She tried not to look embarrassed.


7

It's a transliteration of a sound, so write what you hear. If it's one long sound you write Shhhhhhhh! (however many Hs amuse you) If it's a short one, you write Shhh! with three Hs. One or two look like a typo (Sh! and Shh!). Four and it becomes the long version. Sometimes I actually say the word "Shush!" so I'd write that word, but that's not ...


6

You can break up long stretches of dialogue with: Stage business (describing the person moving around, handling things, getting up and walking, sighing, laughing, eating, etc.) Reaction shots from the other person Bits of narrative describing what someone is thinking, either the speaker watching the listener or the listener reacting to the speaker It's ...


6

That's actually a very good question. I study Languages (Linguistics included) and, in general, people will adapt their speech faster than we tend to think. Of course, some people tend to keep their accents their whole lives (which can already be interesting for your character), but somethings will change and they will incorporate new vocabulary. I can ...


6

Australia is no different to other countries in that accents can be predicated by the person's origins such as whether they grew up in a city or a rural area. In general, most Aussies tend to shorten/contract words, use informal and colloquial terms, and drop parts of sentences as though implied. Unfortunately (for some) many TV and movie characters depict ...


6

Stage business. B takes a drink. C eats something. B lounges back in his chair, looking thoughtful as he listens. C winks at the serving guy. B rolls his eyes at something the protagonist said, and C smacks his arm to make him stop. B plays with a coin, a ring, a belt loop. C starts polishing her knives. Imagine that you're watching the scene in a movie. ...


6

Because it's less intrusive. Anything you speak is something you say; "asking" is merely a more specific description of how the thing is being said. Some writing wisdom holds that using "said" is lazy/boring, but always using specific descriptors like "asked" when the questioning tone is obvious from context can be equally disruptive to the flow of ...


6

There's no reason why it couldn't work, as long as you quickly make clear that it's internal dialogue. If it's a first-person narrative, the entire story is "internal dialogue," in a sense. The main benefit is to give the reader immediate access to the character's inner life, which may help us identify with him/her/it/them. The only real con I could see ...


5

Is it permissible to write ... Well, what do you think will happen? Is there a state law against it? Will you have to pay a fee if you do it? Be imprisoned? Get shot? Do you think the readers, publishers, agents will put you on a black list and never ever read a line written by you? How many lists have you made in the past, where you put the authors ...


5

I have written a flash fiction without any dialogue, so I don't see why it couldn't be possible in a short story. It could be more difficult, because dialogue permit to explain some things quickly and in a easy way, but introduce a dialog only for this is often worse than trying to not use it. If you don't need a dialogue, don't write it. However, I can't ...


5

One addition to Lauren's list: If the history is interesting enough on its own, make the telling of the history a scene. End one scene with the storyteller launching into the story. Then put a scene break. Then put the story as told by the storyteller. This works better if you've already established a pattern of switching viewpoints from one scene to the ...


5

Dialogue has a bit of a different style. Here's some examples of correct dialogue grammar (with respect to punctuation at the end): "You're looking well this morning," said Tommy. "I'm doing well," said Theresa, "thank you kindly." Katherine said, "Let's have pasta for dinner." "That sounds good," said Austin. "Do you want to go to the place on Broad ...


5

Short answer: yes. The question is complicated, though, by what counts as 'dialogue'. If you read - for example - Birgit Vanderbeke's The Mussel Feast (Peirene Press, 2013, trans. Jamie Bullock) you won't find any direct speech - i.e., dialogue in quotation marks. But there's plenty of reported speech in there. It's a more difficult technique than direct ...


5

Is it correct? Strictly speaking, it's not wrong, but it's really hard to hear someone saying a parenthesis. Is it usual? No. In fact, I can't remember ever seeing it. Is it understandable? I guess, although I would do a massive double take and think that the author was being too bookish. Are there alternatives? Yes. I'd use M-dashes, commas, or stage ...


5

Many children's books have scenes where a character talks with an obstructed nose (e.g. head in bucket). Usually what they do is a combination of: k, p, t => g, b, d n => ng/g m, v/f => b This works well only if you restrict this to a sentence or two. Then it is funny. Otherwise it becomes tiresome to the reader.


5

Typically, Chinese ESL speakers routinely make mistakes with definite and indefinite articles. They leave them out, use them when not needed, or mix the two. They also mess up indefinite plurals and pronouns, and verb tenses. All of this is due to structural differences between Mandarin and English. So, this answer might sound like: The Chinese ESL ...


4

Since the author’s voice in a novel can communicate both the character’s actions and directly relate their state of mind, there is no fundamental need for novels to contain dialogue. That being said, your question also hinted at story length and a fondness for economy in writing, which I think is a good thing. The path to reaching larger stories is not ...


4

Using words like laughed and sighed give more information about how the person is talking while using adverbs like laughing and sighing tell what the talker is doing while communicating. As a reader, I interpret sentences like "Ok," she said, sighing. "Just this time." "Ok," she said with a sigh. "Just this time." "Ok," she sighed. "Just this ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible