78

OK. This will be like all the other things we are learning. You fill your tool box with every tool you can find, and use all of them. In this case you are collecting tools to make your dialog sound natural. We are trying to reveal information to the reader, and you say you are using interrogation. Right, this is not natural. Part of natural dialog is ...


76

You have read books like this, or at least are familiar with books like this: Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls is set in Spain, and it is indicated, repeatedly, that the dialogue is in Spanish, in fact in a particular dialect of Spanish. The main character's accent is even discussed. But the dialogue is written entirely in English. Romeo and ...


66

You indicate pauses with action, even mentioning the pause. (Or, as Cyn says in comment, with other exposition or thoughts). Chad said, "Was the computer software hacked?" Bryce shook his head. "No, it was a bug caused by legacy software. Any other question?" Bryce waited for somebody to answer, but everyone averted their eyes, or looked at the ...


52

Insight. Or, if you're so smart --- Prove It! I think you misunderstand intelligent people, and I wouldn't rely on vocabulary to indicate it in the first place. I am a professor in a university, intelligent by conventional standards, but in my work and in my speech I do not use a complex vocabulary, because I consider it far more important to be understood ...


46

You don't always have to tag "said" after every line said. You can do something like: "Why do you always look at me that way?" She turned her head away, embarrassed as she recalled all the times she caught him glancing at her while working. "Because the sparkle in your eye, and the radiance of your smile could only be because you are an angel that ...


38

It sounds very gimmicky, to be honest. I think you should think of more different ways in which her lower education would show, and switch it up a bit. Etiquette comes to mind, not being able to read, not being able to swim, being able to practical things of a commoner... As a joke, it can work quite well if done right. For example having her ask "Who's ...


36

This seems to be an increasingly common problem and my belief is that it results from the writer consciously or unconsciously seeing the movie in his head and trying to transfer it to the page. Thus they give what are essentially stage directions at every verse end. To break this habit, you have to remember that a novel is not a movie. A movie is, in some ...


36

You leave out small talk by focusing on big talk! By this I mean every thing a person says should be something at least one person in the conversation needs to hear, or wants to hear, or is surprised to hear, or if the other person ignores it, should have wanted to hear. Dialogue has consequence. Cut out lines that don't have a purpose, or aren't going to ...


34

It depends on what you're trying to accomplish. Think of authors that you've read who handle dialogue differently, and what they were trying to convey. For instance: "I'm headed to the store," Bob called out to his wife as he headed for the front door. "Really? What are we out of?" "Eggs. I used the rest of them baking that cake last night, ...


34

Yes, this is part of the translation convention People tend to think of translation as a word-to-word equivalency, but it isn't. Different languages have different grammars, and each language words for concepts that can't be clearly defined in other languages. Translation is about communicating meaning and intention, and wordplay can be a vital part of ...


33

Lack of proofreading has been the bane of writing in many locations over the last few years. Do you remember back when newspapers came to your house and you paid to subscribe? Okay, maybe you don't, due to age or location, but it was a thing. Most people (at least among the college-educated folks I knew) subscribed to the daily local paper which was ...


32

From the Turkey City Lexicon: “Said” Bookism An artificial verb used to avoid the word “said.” “Said” is one of the few invisible words in the English language and is almost impossible to overuse. It is much less distracting than “he retorted,” “she inquired,” “he ejaculated,” and other oddities. The term “said-book” comes from certain pamphlets, ...


32

Read authentic Christian voices Find works written by religious Christians on religious subjects, and read them. These can either be non-fiction works, or stories with religious themes. Ideally, you'll read both. Try to find a variety of voices, and consider how the authors' other demographics (and their specific denomination) will affect their voices as ...


32

Dialogue quotes are for things a character actually says. If your character says "hahaha" then fine. But I've never heard anyone do that. You might get a single "ha!" but that's an exclamation not a laugh. Or someone might say "ha ha" (or even "ha ha ha") sarcastically. Again, not a laugh. If you want to tell your readers that your character laughed ...


31

There's two main techniques I use. Mix and match as appropriate for your story. The simplest one: for a conversation between two people, don't give attributions like "he said", but just state it. If it's going to be a lengthy conversation, you can also throw names into their speech. "Hey Sally, check it out - I found an important clue!" "What's that?...


31

Two years ago I took a course with a new professor in our university - a fresh immigrant from the US, who had to teach in Hebrew. Said professor is one of the most brilliant researchers at our faculty, so "intelligent character" - covered. How did he speak? First there was the accent. 'Heavy' doesn't begin to describe it. In writing, you wouldn't want to ...


30

Your sample dialogue sounds unnatural because it's on the nose. If you're not familiar with that term, it means, essentially, that there is no subtext. The characters say exactly what they think, feel, and mean; and they do it in a perfectly articulate manner. The reason on-the-nose dialogue is bad is because humans generally aren't articulate. Sure, ...


29

Trust your instinct. Period. You are right--I zoned out at 'You turned me into a monster.' Who says that? I mean, I don't know whether to cringe or LOL. I didn't read further, but forcing myself to do so--No. Just no. Try this: Natalia: "F*ck you." Robert: "I made the call. We're alive." Natalia scoffs in disgust. "At what cost," she says ...


29

I think this is dependent on the convention in the country or location where you are publishing. In the U.S., it's double quotes, but in Britain, it's often single quotes. I believe France and Italy use guillemets. I've seen the dashes but I don't recall where they are used. The upshot is that, as JonStonecash wisely said, use whatever will be expected by ...


29

Why don't you paraphrase the action? Say what he is literally doing. How does he give the chip? Is it in an envelope? Does he extend his arm? Is he tossing it? .... "Here's the chip in question" he said as he passed him the sealed envelope, making sure [Jack] had a firm grip on it before he let go. "It's a very old one, make sure you take care of it.


28

First of all, thinking of some conversations as solely the domain of women and some as solely the domain of men is not going to get you anywhere. For example I know of many female computer programmers, women in a male-dominated career field, who can talk circles around most guys when it comes to discussing computer hardware. I know men who enjoy sharing ...


28

Amadeus's solution is a good one, but if you really want to keep these sentences within dialogue, without filling the gaps with anything else, you can also use ellipses to indicate pauses within speech. This is especially often used in phone conversations where the reader is only given one side of the conversation: "Hello? ... No, it was a bug caused by ...


27

This questions is unanswerable except in regard to a specific market. We live in an age of taking offence, and also in an age of giving offence. Certain things will close doors to certain segments of the market, certain things may open doors to other segments of the market. Deliberately giving offence can sometimes gain you more market attention than any ...


27

Dialect writing can be extremely difficult to read. The preferred technique today seem to be to do just a very small hint of it. The best way to portray the background and intelligence of a person is through the words they choose and the ideas they express. People from different areas use different words. If you want to portray US south, you could throw in ...


26

It worth noting that this kind of thing has been done many times before. Stories such as The Red Badge of Courage, The Unvanquished, and Their Eyes Were Watching God all do this. Their Eyes Were Watching God takes it to an extreme as the narrator sometimes starts to talk in dialect and make the poor reader quite uncomfortable. Generally, I think reader ...


24

As someone else has said, every pregnancy is different. I am currently eight months pregnant, have been pregnant before, and pretty much every woman my age I know seems to be pregnant right now, so I can give you some insights, but I'd like to also say a few things about research and writing. Research You say you're 'not going to leave home just to meet ...


24

"Character said" really is one of the best ways to tag dialog. When we write we are hyper-aware of our word choices and sentence structure. We don't like to repeat ourselves and we hate seeing all those "said"s stack up because they seem cumbersome and repetitive. However, reading is an entirely different story. A well written story will immerse the reader ...


24

The way a character talks reflects their social class, their level of education, where they come from, what kind of people they are and how the see the world. The last one in particular is key - if all your characters appear to see the world in exactly the same way, it wouldn't matter that they happen to be using different idiosyncrasies. Some examples: ...


23

When it adds no value to the text. It depends entirely on the context and the setting. Swearing for the sake of swearing is juvenile. Teens do it because they think it makes them appear hard or grown up. Adults tend do it out of frustration, anger or pain, or to add emphasis. Most often frustration. The trick is how you use it. You don't have to include ...


23

Blender's right, it's messy. But, by writing it as you suggest, you really get a feel for the moment. I really like it! But if you do it like this: "I-"-she hit the bag-"-really"-hit-"-don't"-hit-"care." Hearing it sounds as messy as seeing it. Punctuating the sentence cleanly and correctly is key. So, rather than use ellipses or dashes, I'd stick with ...


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