Questions tagged [dialogue]

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

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3
votes
2answers
297 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 ...
13
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5answers
11k 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 ...
9
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6answers
1k views

Why are clichés discouraged in fiction writing?

Every writer knows the rule: Avoid clichés like the plague! Wait I can't say that, it is a cliché. Let me try again, I hate to beat a dead horse but... No that won't work either. If you have ever ...
8
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7answers
410 views

What aspects of written dialogue are important when giving characters a unique voice?

I have a project that I am working on in which I need to write quite a few fictional informal email correspondences between pairs of characters. I am not using these characters in any other context. ...
7
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2answers
1k views

When Dialogue is used for more than one character?

When writing a dialogue for characters, say two or more who are speaking back and forth do you have to put who is speaking on every time you switch characters? Is it needed to put their name before ...
5
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4answers
2k views

Writing witty/funny characters with deadpan humor

I've been working on writing a game, and I was wondering what were some good pointers for writing witty and funny characters while using deadpan humor? (Something like GLaDOS from the portal series). ...
5
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5answers
4k views

How to format multiple inner voices, differentiating the text from dialogue? and omnipresent inner voice

For the occasional use of inner voice, Italics are usually recommended. However I have a protagonist who is speaking with himself all the time, and Italics use quickly becomes tiring and distracting....
5
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5answers
1k 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 ...
5
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2answers
303 views

How do you reference pop culture in a dialogue without proper attribution?

I'm not sure exactly how to ask this question in a vacuum so I'll give an example first: Many people are familiar with the Mitch Hedberg joke about an escalator being "temporarily stairs" rather than ...
2
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2answers
3k views

When not to use commas before dialogue (and capitals)

I'm struggling with when to omit the comma before dialogue (as well as when to use capitals) in fiction writing. My understanding is that you would omit the comma before/after something like "he says" ...
2
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4answers
808 views

How do I convey messages that are clear, but unspoken?

So much of communication is nonverbal - facial expressions, body language. Often, it's entirely clear what somebody is thinking and conveying even if they aren't saying a word. How can I portray this ...
14
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7answers
940 views

Breaking up a talky piece of writing

Dialogue is my favorite thing to write. I tend to use a lot of dialogue in my writing, which sometimes results in long, talky passages -- a bit similar to this question about breaking up exposition. ...
9
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10answers
1k 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. "...
8
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3answers
983 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
267 views

How do I write dialogue as heard by a POV character who isn't fluent in the language?

So I'm writing a story during the course of which my main, first-person-POV character learns another language, one used heavily in her surrounding. This generally works, but I regularly get stuck on ...
8
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5answers
1k 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 ...
6
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4answers
11k views

Is it correct to use verbs like "sighed" and "laughed" as dialogue tags?

In other words, is it correct to write something like this: "Oh," he laughed. "Sorry, I'm not sure what's with me today." (Every time I see something like this, I think: "...
3
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4answers
633 views

Attributives in dialogue

I normally stick with "he said" and "she said" to keep things simple and transparent to the reader but wondering about questions. Is "she asked" and "he asked" appropriate when a character asks a ...
3
votes
2answers
427 views

First conversation scenes I've written (looking for errors, conventions, and improvements according to writing standards)

I would like to know if I'm doing something wrong (according to writing standards) in the following conversation and how to improve it to help readability, quality and feeling (making it more ...
3
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3answers
1k views

How many times should I use the word "said" in one page?

When writing fiction and dialogue tags, I find myself using the word "said" approximately 1-1.5 times a page (or every 250 words or so), and the word "asked" slightly more. What is (around) the ...
3
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
18
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7answers
14k views

How does one include sign language in a dialogue?

If one character is using sign language and lip reading while the other is speaking normally, how do you represent the lines of the former? Quotations with "he signed" attribution or italics?...
13
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5answers
1k views

Why is there such strong objection to the use of said-bookisms?

I am surprised by the vehemence of many writers' objection to said-bookisms -- the practice of using a verb other than "said" or "asked" in order to convey dialog. Writers are told you can't hiss an ...
12
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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'...
9
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6answers
554 views

Describing an important emotional turmoil in the character's life I've never been through

I have this young character who grows up to be very strong and powerful but while he was young he was still discovering how strong he was. This incident happened to a friend he's protective of. When ...
6
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2answers
3k 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?
5
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4answers
400 views

How to write Arabic in dialogue for an English piece?

I have a character who is a Syrian refugee to Canada. His first language is Arabic, but he's lived in Canada long enough that he's learned English and uses this as his primary spoken language. On ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

Elongated vowel sounds

When we speak sometimes we draw out certain sounds for emphasis. We also see this technique in song, for both emphasis as well as expanding the meter to make the words fit a certain rhythm. One way ...
5
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2answers
5k 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
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3answers
2k 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 ...
5
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5answers
492 views

How do you handle slang with questionable spelling?

Imagine the following common conversation: Q: What are you up to? A. The usual Now imagine it spoken by certain kids these days: Q: What are you up to? A: The yooooshj. My question pertains to the ...
5
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2answers
424 views

Changing the way one addresses a character in a dialogue to create variation

I wrote the following dialogue: After a moment, Eri's mother appeared from the kitchen, carrying a tray with miso soup. Eri was startled by the amount of food. Her parents were definitely ...
4
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2answers
1k views

How to shorten meandering dialogue?

My story Cured (which I've asked about before, but has undergone major revisions since then), has an extremely large section of dialogue that annoys my beta tester. I agree with her that it should be ...
3
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4answers
11k views

Writing dialogue, present or past tense "said"

This may seem like an off-topic question, but it's really more about writing than about the grammar. I use a lot of dialogue in my writing, sometimes too much, but while I'm writing it, though the ...
3
votes
1answer
629 views

Show the translation of foreign language thoughts in a manuscript?

Background Part of an English story takes place in rural South America, where Spanish is the native tongue. Problem A Spanish character thinks to himself. In English (i.e., in the story's native ...
3
votes
3answers
5k views

How to write a character speaking in broken english? [duplicate]

I found a slightly similar question from 2014 on here but a lot of the answers weren't helpful in my case (as they brought up points of the internet and such) so I'm going to try here... In my ...
2
votes
3answers
257 views

All my characters sound the same. How can I change this?

I am writing a fantasy series. I am a new writer. I am almost done with the first draft of the first book, I have about 400 pages. Everyone who has read my work, even complete strangers that I have ...
2
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5answers
8k views

What is the best practice for writing a character that speaks with a whistle lisp?

For a character that whistles when pronouncing the "s" sound, how can I write in the lisp effectively? I tried using multiple "S"s, but it reads as a snake-like sound, which I don't want since there ...
2
votes
5answers
5k views

Should I ever break up a long line of dialogue in different paragraphs?

I often second-guess myself in one particular scenario when writing dialogue. Convention says I should break different characters' lines in different lines or paragraphs (I've seen both), but what if ...
2
votes
2answers
334 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 ...
2
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4answers
803 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. “I’...
2
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4answers
123 views

Introduce new English dialect

I'm willing to introduce a new character who speaks a different English - he uses all the words with -ed in the past and past perfect tenses and he doesn't use the continuous tenses: "Eh, they ...
1
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1answer
45 views

Different dialogues for inner thoughts

Whenever I write inner thoughts I do something like: What is she thinking?, Maria thought. I find myself using the word thought, think, or wonder a lot when writing inner thoughts. Is there a way to ...
1
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2answers
243 views

How can I write dialogue to show arrogance?

In a series I am currently writing, the protagonist grew up in a big detective family, causing her to know a lot about the detective's world. How can I write her dialogue to show she's a knows it all?...
0
votes
4answers
441 views

How Much Dialogue Is Too Much Dialogue

I wanted to know How Much Dialogue Is Too Much Dialogue ? I'm writing chapter and i can't really seem to trim my dialogues since my all 4 of my characters are to talk to each other and interact with ...
0
votes
1answer
118 views

Multiple personalities character's speach in text

I am writing about main character, which have multiple personalities. I know how i want to write them, but for reader it can be really disturbing and hard to for orientation. At the same time i will ...

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