Tag Archives: Dialogue

The Beginning

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The beginning2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a problem with the beginning of your book?  I know I certainly did. I was very insecure about how Dobyns Chronicles should start, but I finally made a decision. “OLD AGE IS hell, but it’s something all of us have to go through.” Right or wrong you have to make a choice. I wanted the opening to establish the voice of Charley Dobyns and to set the tone.  I don’t skip around when I write. I have to have the beginning before I can go on with my writing.

You must have a strong opening and that’s not easily done. Duff Brenna, author of Too Cool, a New Times Noteworthy book stated his beginnings stay in flux also.  Sometimes the second or third sentence may be the best beginning or even the second or third chapter.  We seem to do a lot of rearing of our words to get the beginning that strikes the right cord with us.

I used a dialogue opening which can pique a readers’ curiosity. I noticed a lot of writers go for the scenic opening. The real question is what type of opening will cause your reader to go on though the story.  I know for myself that I have picked up a book and read the first page and put it back on the self.  If it doesn’t grab my attention, I don’t read it. A good first page captures the reader’s interest and makes them want to read on.

Ellen Sussman, author of A Wedding in Provence, tends to open her novels with a scene. “I want to ground my readers in my fictional world.” She says. “It’s as if I want them to jump right in and join the characters in action.  I try to make sure that the opening scene captures some of the tension of the novel as well as introducing the main character and the setting.  Of course, the tone gets established right away as well.  Tall order for one scene!”

Does your beginning have conflict?  Conflict is what drives all fiction. Readers may tend to have certain expectations about an opening based on what genre it is.  The avid mystery reader is on the outlook for the story’s victim. Readers also keep an eye out for the protagonist. Even in fantasy a reader has to know that they are in another world where there may be wonders or terror. It doesn’t matter the genre, the beginning has to contain the components to catch your reader.

“Crafting the beginning takes careful attention, patience and a flair for the dramatic” said Jack Smith the author of the article Start to Stop which this blog was based on. It is a major investment of time and energy so we have to make the beginning the best we can make it.  Happy writing.

Let’s Do Dialogue Convention…

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Quotation marks
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If you’re anything like me, I had no idea what dialogue convention was.  To put it simply, it is what we as readers are used to with dialogue, looking and performing a certain way. It is “rules of dialogue.”

1.  quotation marks signal to the reader some one is speaking.  “Martha, I read the best book last night.  It was wonderful.”  Sometimes you will see writers use different punctuation from single quotation marks to brackets.  Unless you have a very good reason for not following convention, it is recommended you do not vary.

2. Dialogue dictates one paragraph per speaker, no matter how short the speech.  It makes it easier to follow the flow of the conversation.

3.  Speech tags are used so the reader can know who is doing the talking.  Most of the time we see, he/she said.  Speech tags help the reader to gather his bearings, the way commas indicate a pause.  Most of the time readers do not even notice you have use  he/she said, unless you’ve used the word a thousand times.  Readers have said the words become invisible.  You just don’t pay any attention to them.  You do not have to use speech tags with every line if the reader is aware of exactly who is doing the talking.

If you had made it clear, Jack and Jill were the only people in the room, then their conversation would not have to have a tag with each line.

As a writer there are certain expectations we have to meet in our writing for John Q Public to accept it.  It is also a fact, that writers tend to push the envelope and not pay attention to conventional thinking.  Sometimes it works and at other times it doesn’t.

This video shows the importance of using conventions when writing.  It mainly deals with grammar, but it is still writing conventions.

http://youtu.be/DZYIbqew7YU

Get Realistic

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I’m going to discuss dialogue a little further.  I believe a lot of people believe dialogue is easy to write.  I for one don’t think it is.  You are supposed to keep it realistic, but not make it exactly how we talk.  We can’t use all the um’s, that’s, you know, ect.

Writing use to have a formal more formal dialogue.  Now we tend to try to write closer to a natural conversation.  The best way to get a feel for realistic dialogue is listening to someone’s conversation with another person.  Yes, you will have to ease drop, but it could be fun.  The dialogue we write for fiction has to have more umph, focus and relevance to it than a normal conversation, so it is not boring to the reading.  Use contractions whenever possible. We have to get to the point of the conversation much quicker.  Your dialogue needs to show your characters and what emotion

  • Do not use dialogue simply to convey information. Dialogue should set the scene, advance action, give insight into characterization, remind the reader, and foreshadow. Dialogue should always be doing many things at once.
  • Dialogue can have grammatical errors, but you do have to keep the characters voice in mind and keep it readable.  You do not want it to sound as if you are giving a speech, unless that’s what your character is doing.

    Word choice tells a reader a lot about a person: appearance, ethnicity, sexuality, background, and morality. Pick your words carefully because you are conveying lots of information about your character.

  • Todays video is on writing dialogue for plays, but it gives some good advice which can be applied to any genre.  Enjoy
  • http://youtu.be/TZXcQemh8n8

     

    Who’s Doing The Talking

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    Centre for Dialogue Logo

    Image via Wikipedia

    Today is Monday and it’s time for “The Blog.”  Today I want to share a little about talking in your writing, otherwise known as “Dialogue”.  In fiction anything which isn’t narration and is in quotes is dialogue.  Dialogue holds your reader’s attention, lets them get to know your characters better.  If you went out on a date and there wasn’t conversation, do you think you would go out on a second date.  I wouldn’t and I don’t suspect you would either.  That conversation is vital in establishing a relationship.  It is the same with fiction writing.

    You can also do the opposite.  What if you went out with someone who talked all the time.  You couldn’t get a word in because the person wouldn’t shut up.  Would you do a repeat of that performance?  Fiction writing requires  a happy medium.  You want your dialogue balanced with your narration.

    You can write about any given moment in a story by two methods:  scene or summary.  Summary is where the action is summarized, or otherwise told to the reader.  Scene writing is where dialogue comes into play (excuse the pun).  Your reader hears the conversation and can see what is happening in their minds eye.  Using dialogue makes the writing stronger.  It makes the writing seems more lifelike and dramatic.

    Dialogue moments of real significance to your story.  Examples

    Dee and Andy walked to the kitchen, flipped the light on before going to the sink to do the dishes.    Dee would do the washing, and Andy would dry the dishes.

    “Hey Andy, are you going to help me with the dishes?”

    “Sure I am, you cooked the dinner.”

    Dee and Andy walked to the kitchen, laughing at the idea of Dee cooking.  She flipped on the light switch, and they headed to the sink.

    “I’ll wash and you can dry, Andy”

    “Sure, not a problem.”

    The dialogue added more to the scene of the story.  It gave it some life, not just a flat sentence.

    We just have to figure out when we want our characters to talk.  When is going to provide the most impact.

    Todays video is on Dialogue.  See you Wednesday.