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1

Unless you're writing a screenplay -where you are able to employ the freedom of precision in your story telling- writing accurate or specific action and dialogue in mix is a narrative that has to be engendered in the reader's mind, not told. In the boxing example for instance, one possible way I would perhaps say it: "Tom's emotions were sporadically ...


0

When it comes to actually writing the signer's line, I tend to write them between apostrophes. I find it easier and a little more visually appealing than italics, but still allows the reader to differentiate the two languages. I more commonly save the italicization for internal thoughts. 'I wish I could go to the park.' vs. I wish I could go to the park.


2

Sounds like you haven't spent too much time with children. Their speech pattern reflects largely the speech pattern of their peers and the adults around them. 10-13 year olds can have a very extensive vocabulary. They can very easily know more specific nouns than most adults about some specific topics. But to me children speak is most easily depicted ...


4

It's fine to use action to insert a beat in the dialogue, or just as a change of pace from tags. But you must separate out each person's actions (whether it's speech, thought, or something else) in to a new paragraph. What you wrote isn't clear. Amadeus' version is perfectly good. How you format it is up to you and it will depend on the sentence or two ...


3

You format it with tags, it won't interrupt the flow. "What?!" Marcia said. I laughed, giving her a minute to process my words. "You're getting married?" she said. "I never thought I'd see the day!"


2

What's interesting is writing for the "eye" vs "ear" -- for example, in the comic books, Wonder Woman is often called, both in dialog and captions, "WW" (a savings of 10 characters) -- but to SAY "doubleyou-doubleyou" is longer than Wonder Woman -- 6 syllables compared to 4. Similarly "World Wide Web" "WWW" "dubdubdub" (save 12 characters, but go from 3 ...


8

AM and FBI are not abbreviations, they are acronyms. We know to pronounce them letter by letter because they are fully capitalized. In some cases, they also have periods after each letter (with no spaces). Never ever sound them out (unless it's to show the character is saying them wrong). "It's 4 AM," she said. Note I fixed the punctuation and changed ...


2

I'm going to focus solely on the How to convert dialogue in to paragraph? question. There isn't one technique but several that should be used together. Here's four that seem to be the most important IMHO. Mention actions in between dialogues. Maybe Anna flopped down onto the coach, thus showing she was tired. Maybe John dropped his phone with a low curse ...


4

First of all, what do you mean by "taking inspiration from a movie"? If you mean copying the dialogue from a movie line for line, you're not allowed to do that. That's plagiarism. I would also question your statement regarding "having no experience with married life". You might not be married yourself, but what about your parents? Your parents' friends? ...


3

If Maiden is plucky as LoneWolf is terse, perhaps Maiden can simply answer for him until his looks of wild surmise are not enough and he actually breaks into speech. Perhaps she could be funny and clever and if not win him over exactly, then at least provide company and occasional help with bandaging those hard-to-reach wounds. Matilda and Amadeus' answers ...


1

Augment your dialog with narrative and action. What is the most extreme thing he can do and/or say to communicate his dislike of her? Would he hurt her? Verbally abuse her? Why or why not? Write such a scene. What is the most extreme thing she can do? Go ahead and write that scene too. Or turn it on its head, too. Don't make his feeling simple dislike--...


7

You could play them as opposites. He hardly talks at all, she talks enough for both of them! She is not unaware or oblivious to him, but she just chatters along, asking him questions that he doesn't answer, making up her own answers, telling about her life and things that happened and her family and her neighbors and adventures she has had, or heard about. ...


5

Two things come to mind: You don't necessarily need character interaction to develop characters you can work with POV switches and develop the characters through their different reactions to situations arising. You can force the characters to interact within the narrative due to external pressure; if they are beset by dangers that require them to work ...


9

Actually, the fact that one of your characters doesn’t want to talk has the potential of making the dialogue more interesting. You have created conflict between your characters, and conflict is interesting. Mr. Stoic’s reluctance to communicate says a lot about his nature and will give your barmaid the opportunity to bounce her personality off his wall of ...


2

As you've pointed out, realism is just a style, your problem is making sure the way your characters talk isn't distracting, which is a function of two things: Consistency and expectation. The first is easy (to describe!): However any given character talks, it should be consistent. If it changes it will call unwanted attention to itself. The tougher ...


4

Great writers do more than just say, "in real life people don't do X, so my characters mustn't do X". They understand why people don't do X, thereby informing their understanding of their own characters' likely in-universe behaviours. (Of course, sometimes writers do something unrealistic anyway, but let's sideline that observation for the moment). Why aren'...


1

Welcome to writing SE, Logrun. Definitely not an n-dash. I'd suggest two m-dashes to set it off, but since you are in dialog, you can play around a lot. "If--no, when--John arrives, he's got some explaining to do." ^^ That'd be my style. ^^ It sets off the correction on both ends. But, you can also use other approaches. Here are a couple more options ...


0

I post this answer about once per month: Jane Austen invented a style where the thoughts of any character are suddenly stated as fact through the 3rd-person narrator. Free Indirect Speech What distinguishes free indirect speech from normal indirect speech is the lack of an introductory expression such as "He said" or "he thought". https://en....


1

I have characters like this, and a lot of teen characters at that. There are teens who will talk like this (Nerds who read. Socially Awkward kids. Motivational speeches trying to sound important, debate team nerds, drama nerds, and occasionally class clowns who are mocking the older diction). One of my favorite scenes I ever wrote went drama nerd ...


0

Just use English, in quotes, like any dialogue. When we write about medieval fantasy, the narrator is always translating ancient languages to English for the reader. It is understood, whether you are writing for Hobbits or writing for sparrows or writing for medieval humans, that you are translating their communications system into modern English for the ...


1

How do you know what the sparrows are thinking? I mean that sincerely. If you're watching them, you attribute dialogue to them because they're obviously communicating things to each other. They just don't use speech or other formal language. You know what they're "saying" because their body language and interactions with each other and objects around ...


2

If the sparrows aren't sentient or human-like (such as the animals in Aesop's fables) but normal animals, then I think it would be more appropriate to go with option #2. Describe the scene in detail: how would two sparrows fight over a breadcrumb? Would they peck each other, squawk, flap their wings to intimidate each other? If you find the right words and ...


2

None of the above. I think you have a crucial comma in the wrong place to get the sense out of the sentence that I think you're aiming for, and also the tense feels dislocated to me. I would use the following: "If, no when John arrives, he's got some explaining to do." Emphasis is important in this kind of situation and using italics to put a definite ...


3

I used cleaned up speech; but I only use words I have actually heard people use in casual speech (or at least feel like I have heard used). I think the trick is to stick with things real people say in conversation. To some extent this depends on the character and how well they are educated, but not very much. I was a college professor and I am currently a ...


1

Yeah I talk like I swallowed a thesaurus at birth, my writing is even worse, I get around it by rarely writing characters who could be construed as being poorly educated. When I need to write a character who doesn't have the equivalent of a masters degree I write the basic dialogue as I would say it then reverse thesaurus it, taking the polysyllabic terms I'...


5

Tell your audience that the sparrows are cheeping and use italics for the translation. This is a technique that I've seen in a few books for communication that isn't verbal/audible the italics carries the meaning but it's stated beforehand that the character isn't hearing the dialogue, often used for for mortals "conversing" with greater entities.


6

What techniques can I use to ensure my characters talk in a way that's neither too bookish, nor too literal? Read more! Read books written in a plain style, with no purple prose or that rely a lot on rare words. You'll pick up that plain, dry style, and you'll be able to use it in your own writing. You could be interested in Hemingway, from what I've seen ...


4

You still want your dialogue to be real speech. It's just cleaned up speech. If you have a critique group, read the scene out loud to them. Ditto if you have people willing to read drafts. You'll catch a lot of the worst sounding parts just in the act of reading. Your group will catch more. You can also have someone real it out loud to you, while ...


3

I'll add a thought to the good answers here that it sounds as though you are using your characters to advance a plot point. While we all do this, allowing your characters to behave naturally with one another without any demands upon them can be an interesting exercise. How would your characters interact in this scene if there was no need for them to expose ...


2

One of the most common ways to make exposition in dialogue natural is to have a conflict that inspires bringing it up. Your story is bound to need a conflict to drive it anyway, so you may as well take advantage of this. Think about a story in which two characters already know each other at the start, and at some point they argue. The first such argument is ...


2

One approach can be to put a prologue mini-story at the front where all this happens. Rather than having the Lord High Whatever say to the prince "As you know, 30 years ago your father, the king...", just write the story of what the king did 30 years ago as a chapter told from the King's point of view. Then skip 30 years to the current crisis and what the ...


4

Try looking at how it's done in good first person novels. ("The Big Sleep" by Raymond Chandler comes to mind.) You need to escape the he said / she said trap with direct speech by making it obvious who is talking. Eg. If I asked him now I would know if I could put my evil plan into action. -- "So, where are you guys eating today?" C2 looked at me and ...


3

I, and all of the others who might answer this question, are flying blind without knowing all of the details. Oh, well, I probably would be confused anyway. I too struggle with the show-rather-than-tell guidance. I tend to use dialogue to get the information out there but it can be strained. One of the techniques that I have used to relieve that strain is ...


6

You can do it in exposition, but in general if I find a conversation that requires exposition or background to proceed, it is a signal that the writer is "rushing to drama". The solution is previous scenes or exposition that accomplish delivering the proper context of the scene, and not immediately before the scene occurs. Probably in the first half of the ...


11

The thing that is often unnatural about giving exposition in dialogue is that both people having the dialogue should already be aware of what is being said. To solve that problem, you can either introduce a character who would reasonably not be aware of the situation, or you can tell that exposition instead of bringing it up in dialogue. Telling in this case ...


0

I tend to find it incredibly jarring, outside of the example of Shakespeare and other older writers, of whom one does not expect the same level of accuracy. Like a number of other people, I already dislike it when readers analyze translated texts on the basis of the translator's own specific word choices, and a corollary to this is a distaste for the ...


0

With very few exceptions, you never want to interrupt the flow of the engaged reader, or endanger his or her suspension of disbelief. With that said, what will interrupt the flow depends on what the flow is. If you are placing the reader inside the non-English speaking characters --if you are giving a sense of what the world feels like for them from the ...


0

Even then, there are some jokes that are "Universal Jokes" such as the following: Wife: Does this dress make me look pretty or ugly? Husband: I would say pretty ugly. The word play here is almost universal and the gag translates into nearly every language just fine and without losing meaning. It even works in language families that are not connected ...


6

I am from Spain, so I have a lot of experience reading books in one language (Spanish) where the characters were supposedly speaking in a different language (usually English). I can give you a reader's point of view, then. If you are writing a story in English, aimed at English speakers, where the characters are supposedly speaking their own native language ...


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