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Questions tagged [dialogue]

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

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3
votes
2answers
1k views

What are the rules for punctuating a conversation?

Are there hard and fast rules for characters speaking to each other? As far as quotations, or without them? Are they hinged inside a paragraph or ruled to only be in a talking string?
4
votes
3answers
94 views

Recounting events in dialogue

In my story, the MC goes through a number of events with a common theme, each told in separate scenes. At the end of the story, he tells a friend about the things he experienced. Both the events and ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

How do you use the interjection for snorting?

How do you use the interjection for snorting? I was told that "snort" is an onomatopoeia, but I disagree. "Haha" and "Heh heh" would be onomatopoeia, because they are pronounced the way they are ...
9
votes
6answers
3k views

Should you only use colons and full stops in dialogues?

Should you only use colons and full stops in dialogues? I thought about using a semi-colon in one of my dialogues, but I had second thought about it, because when we talk, we don't really ...
2
votes
0answers
65 views

Alternatives to develop relationships without dialogue [closed]

I have to come up with an idea (this is an assignment) for a story between 1 or 2 characters without dialogue and with a length of 90 seconds, so I know it's totally possible, however, when it comes ...
3
votes
2answers
68 views

Switching languages within dialogue [duplicate]

I'm writing a story which requires frequent switching between languages, sometimes in the same sentence. I thought about writing the foreign language in italics, but the problem is that I already use ...
5
votes
4answers
116 views

Is there a better way to introduce acronyms through a dialogue?

Is there a better way to introduce acronyms through a dialogue? One way of doing it, is to mention what the acronym stands for at the beginning and then use the acronym afterward, but that's a bit ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

How do we know if a dialogue sounds unnatural without asking for feedback?

I wrote a dialogue, but I am not sure if it sounds natural. I try to keep dialogue super simple so that it doesn't feel unnatural, but aside from that, I am not sure if there's any golden rule I can ...
21
votes
6answers
4k views

Using font to highlight a god's speech in dialogue

At one point in my story, the characters are addressed by a god. In the ensuing dialogue, this god has a more archaic way of speaking, but even so, I'm wondering if it might be a good idea to visually ...
2
votes
2answers
133 views

Is it poor form to paraphrase well known authors in dialogue?

Sometimes a situation will suit a well known author's quote and I do like expressions. Someone joked that I had no shame in paraphrasing. Is this poor form and if so why?
3
votes
4answers
164 views

How do we distinguish how a character pronounces a word and how it is spelled in a dialogue?

How do we distinguish how a character pronounces a word and how it is spelled in a dialogue? For example, some people pronounce words in a different way than they should, how do you show that in a ...
8
votes
5answers
263 views

My scenes seem too fast

I’m having issues ‘cause while I’m in the process of writing I think my style has enough length to it, but when I go back and read my work it feels extremely fast. A scene I expected to take me ...
4
votes
2answers
108 views

How to deal with foreign language in dialogue?

I'm writing a story about a little girl who got bit by an unknown snake species and is being treated for it. Out of the 3 snakebite victims, this little girl seems to have the best prognosis. Here is ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Ending a line of dialogue with “?!”: Allowed or obnoxious?

A dialogue of mine contains the following sentence: "You fired all three of them?!" Trouble is, I'm not sure I've ever seen a novel that used a question mark and an exclamation point together - it'...
0
votes
3answers
102 views

Literate Cherokee and English dialogue east of the Mississippi in the 1860s with a nineteenth century narrator [closed]

It is my understanding that the Cherokee, prior to the Trail of Tears were bilingual, being educated in both Cherokee and English. Is it possible that a Cherokee man in his late twenties would have ...
2
votes
2answers
225 views

Modernized dialogue in fantasy - stylistically untrue or clever genre subversion?

I find myself using words like "kiddo", "bullshit" and "badass" in the more comedic side of dialogue/thoughts in my fantasy novel. At first it was simply me not paying attention, and not caring as I ...
1
vote
1answer
54 views

Formatting a conversation

In a novel, how would one best represent a recorded conversation between two people played back to a larger audience? The normal rules apply regarding quotation marks and beginning a new paragraph ...
5
votes
2answers
99 views

Is it acceptable to punctuate and capitalize a dialogue tag like a separate sentence?

When a piece of writing has a quoted sentence followed by a dialogue tag, the sentence is usually ended with a comma (inside the quotation marks) and the dialogue tag is in sentence case, like this: ...
8
votes
3answers
898 views

Can we use other things than single-word verbs in our dialog tags?

"Albert, you're already drunk! Stop it!" she implored him. "Nah, if I stop drinking, I won't have an excuse to miss work tommorrow!" he joked around. I am wondering if it's possible to use ...
2
votes
2answers
96 views

Multiple lines of dialogue and action from a single character

I am in the middle of writing a scene between two characters, a cello player, Lisa and her friend from college, Jack. Lisa has recently lost her sight, and Jack is trying to encourage her back into ...
5
votes
2answers
110 views

Technical term for written dialogue that mimics the speaker's “sound”?

I'm wondering if there's a technical writing term for when an author uses purposefully misspelled words to mimic the sound of the speaker? This has the effect of "forcing" the reader to hear the ...
8
votes
1answer
866 views

What's the proper way of indicating that a car has reached its destination during a dialogue?

What's the proper way of indicating that a car has reached its destination during a dialogue? For example, two persons have a conversation, and they reach a destination, is there a standard way to do ...
4
votes
6answers
776 views

In a script how can I signal who's winning the argument?

Arguments, discussions, disagreements In my script I have a lot of "arguments" – loose definition: long discussions where characters disagree about what to do. These arguments don't escalate to a ...
15
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3answers
1k views

Can we have too many dialogue tags and follow up actions?

Can we have too many dialogue tags and follow up actions? I am trying to think of a situation where it might make sense to describe everything the people do while talking, but it also feels overkill, ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Do we have to introduce the character's name before using their names in a dialogue tag?

Do we have to introduce the character's name before using their names in a dialogue tag? I am wondering if we can use the names without saying it's a man or a woman, and then making the characters ...
14
votes
4answers
799 views

Has anyone ever written a novel or short story composed of only dialogue? [closed]

The participants describe everything needed for the story to continue, within the conversation. The environment, the emotions, everything. The reader gets to "see" it all through their words. Has it ...
6
votes
2answers
104 views

Developing a dialogue that unexpectedly leads to strong feelings between two strangers

A short story I'm writing involves a stage in which the male protagonist talks to a stranger with the intent of asking them to do a favor for his friend. I want them to start having strong feelings ...
9
votes
2answers
709 views

How would you write the dialogues of two characters talking in a chat room?

How would you write do the dialogues of two characters talking in a chat room? I am seriously wondering about the format. Should it look like regular dialogues, what about emoticons like OWO and ;) ...
9
votes
2answers
236 views

Using ”as” after dialogue tags

Should a comma be used after a dialogue tag and before the word ”as”. For example: ”I don’t like this at all, ” he said, as the door closed behind them. Or ”I don’t like this at all, ” he said ...
18
votes
6answers
2k views

Should you avoid redundant information after dialogue?

Should we avoid repeating redundant information after a dialogue and is there a way around this? Sometimes, you feel prompted to write the description of an action that follows a line, but that also ...
5
votes
3answers
124 views

When should a character refer his dad or someone close in third impersonal person?

When should a character refer his dad or someone close in third impersonal person? Let's say you have a character and his dad is the President of the United States. In what situation is it appropriate ...
15
votes
8answers
3k views

How can one write good dialogue in a story without sounding wooden?

I began an assignment to write a short story for a Creative Writing submission to a publication and although it was accepted, I found that I struggled with the addition of dialogue to this first-...
26
votes
4answers
5k views

How do we handle pauses in a dialogue?

How do we handle pauses in a dialogue? Let's say that character A speaks and then after a pause character A speaks again. How should we separate the two moments, should we write two lines of ...
8
votes
4answers
369 views

How do I apply Hemingway's dialogue techniques to my own writing?

I open Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises at random (chapter 9). 'I haven't seen you since I've been back,' Brett said. 'No.' 'How are you, Jake?' 'Fine.' Brett looked at me. 'I say,' she said, ...
3
votes
2answers
184 views

When should the dialogue reference be written, before or after the dialogue?

This might be a very trivial question but I don't know what to google to get an answer so asking anyways. In this dialogue; "I have such a miserable cold, your sarcastic remarks are hardly ...
3
votes
6answers
251 views

Can I use spoken English at some places over 'technically accurate English' in a general fiction?

I have written my novel as a 'first person singular' and in past tense. There are lot of times in it where I have written it as I will say it while speaking. I have used phrases which have implied ...
7
votes
2answers
113 views

Breaking dialogue with actions from another character

This can get... confusing, which is why I tend to avoid it, but sometimes, I really want it there. “What?!” [said Character B.] I laughed, giving her a minute to process my words. “You’re getting ...
3
votes
2answers
79 views

How do you transcribe a dialogue when abbreviations are used?

How do you transcribe a dialogue when abbreviations are used? For example, when people uses acronyms like FBI or abbreviations like a.m., do we just write them as we write them when they're in a ...
1
vote
2answers
209 views

How to convert dialogue in to paragraph?

This is my first time writing a novel. In my novel, there is a part of the married life of my protagonist who is a woman. I don't have any experience of married life so I have taken inspiration from a ...
11
votes
5answers
263 views

Writing the dialogue of two travelers who dislike each other

I'm currently writing a journey-focused plot arc, and I'm struggling a bit with the character interactions. To give you some background, the protagonist is a lone wolf of sorts whose job is akin to a ...
1
vote
2answers
115 views

Grammar of, in dialogue, someone quickly negating a previous word?

For example, let's say that someone says a word, but then immediately "corrects" it to a different word. Do you use a comma, an em dash, or what? In addition, if it's at the beginning of a ...
5
votes
5answers
177 views

I have a dialogue that I can't write directly. What would be a good alternative?

My attempt at the current writing challenge features a flock of sparrows. Since the actual "dialogue" between two sparrows would sound like a bunch of cheeping, I need another way to show what they'...
11
votes
7answers
333 views

Too eloquent characters

Here's a critique I've received more than once: "your character talks like a character from a book. He's too eloquent, nobody really talks like that, unless they grew up in a library." Now, to some ...
11
votes
7answers
953 views

Should I “tell” my exposition or give it through dialogue?

When my work was being critiqued, one of the critics said that the exposition given away in my dialogue was forced and unnatural. Though, this exposition is crucial, so leaving it out is out of the ...
18
votes
9answers
5k views

Can non-English-speaking characters use wordplay specific to English?

Would it be jarring if in an original (non-translated) story, the characters, who don't speak English in-universe, use "untranslatable" wordplay/puns that are specific to English? By "untranslatable" ...
4
votes
2answers
108 views

Why is the construct “'hello' says Pete” most common?

I am asking this from the point of a reader not a writer and just wondering why, so sorry if this is a bad place. I read loads of books to my kids and the construct always seems to go: "What a day,...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Writing slurred speech

One of my characters gets drunk and accidentally kills another. He has a couple of lines where he needs to sound obnoxiously, falling-down drunk. Is there a good way to accomplish this? What sounds ...
8
votes
6answers
3k views

Using too much dialogue?

I'm working on a novel of my own and, looking back at the bits of it I have so far brought into light, that almost everything in it is dialogue. Is this a bad thing? How could I fix this if it is?
13
votes
5answers
7k views

Writing “hahaha” versus describing the laugh

When posting an excerpt of my book on a critiquing site, someone commented on my use of "hahaha" inside the dialogue instead of just having a laughing verb after or before it. They said it took them ...
0
votes
4answers
137 views

How would you write dialog in a 1st person story?

I'm a novice writer working on my first book. I've made the story 1st person from the perspective of the main character. The way I've been writing dialog goes as such: C1: "So, where are you guys ...