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He Said, She Said

A look at Dialogue

ken johnson

on 3 November 2012

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Transcript of He Said, She Said

Dialogue Main purposes of Dialogue Keep it Short Attribute Carefully People talk in slang Advice -Keep it Short
-Attribute carefully
-People talk in slang, sometimes phonetic rendering helps…sometimes.
-People don’t always answer the question
-Give your character something to do di·a·logue/dīlôg/ Noun:
Conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie. Dialogue is used to:
advance the plot
define the characters
reveal conflict
give background information. He Said, She Said Dialogue is a back and forth. Make sure one character does not dominate the conversation, unless you are trying to show that person as dominating. Dialogue attribution is the “He said” part of the sentence. Adverbs weaken this part of the sentence and distract from what is being said. Here is a bit from “On Writing” by Stephen King, on dialogue attribution. We all talk in slang and jargon and most of us curse. So, your characters should also. King uses the example of when someone hits there hand with a hammer, most say "shit." So, don't put "Oh, sugar" unless perhaps your character is a sweet grandma who would say "oh, sugar " (King 186). Dialogue brings life Dialogue is what is said. Most times it tells the reader more than if the writer told us in straight sentences Let's look at an example from this week's reading "Men Under Water" "If you are not depressed," he says around a mouthful of catsup and eggs, "what are you?"

"Subdued," I say.

"Oh," he says. "well, would you mind knocking off being subdued? You're not putting out energy. I can't do it all by myself."

"Do what?"

"Write the goddam screenplay," he says (321). The reader gets more from this little exchange than if Lombreglia had just said that our narrator was subdued. And the dialogue advances the plot. It has a purpose. that exchange does all four of the purposes of dialogue King gives three sentence examples:
“Put it down!” she shouted.
“Give it back,” he pleaded, “it’s mine.”
“Don’t be a fool, Jekyll,” Utterson said.
In these sentences , shouted, pleaded and said are verbs of dialogue attribution. Now look at these dubious revisions: “Put it down!” she shouted menacingly.
“Give it back,” he pleaded abjectly, “it’s mine.”
“Don’t be a fool, Jekyll,” Utterson said contemptuously (125).

So, King hates adverbs. There is a dissenting view. In Roy Peter Clark’s book, he has a similar portion about adverbs but “conclude[s] with a disclaimer. The wealthiest writer in the world is J.K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series. She loves adverbs, especially when describing speech” (29). A game referenced by both Clark and King is called “Tom Swifties.” Named after a series of adventure books with lots of adverbs in dialogue attribution, the goal is to make a pun from the dialogue and the adverb. Here are a few from Clark:
“I need some pizza now,” he said crustily.
“I’m the Venus de Milo,” she said disarmingly.
“I dropped my toothbrush,” he said, crestfallen (27). sometimes phonetic rendering helps…sometimes. If you were to write that scene you would have to write some of the dialogue phonetically There would be "forgetaboudet, fuhgeddaboudit,
foorgeetabowat, etc." Just remember that you want someone to be able to read it. So, like everything else, moderation is the key. Render dialogue phonetically only for a specific purpose. People don’t always answer the question A lot of times people don't answer the question they are asked but instead say what they want to say instead Give your character something to do Back to "Men Under Water At the end of the story the characters are getting ready to dive. In between the dialogue are little actions that serve to break up the dialogue and provide some action "It is a special kind of know that comes undone when you pull on it." He pulls on the knot and the rope drops off my waist onto the grass. "Okay?" He reties the rope for me. "I have this neat maneuver I want to show you" (338). Work Cited "google." Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon. Dictionary.com, LLC. 03 Nov. 2012.

King, Stephen. On Writing. 2000. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2010. Print

Lombreglia, Ralph. "Men Under Water." The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories. New York: Random House. 1994. Print.

Clark, Roy Peter. Writing Tools. New York: Little, Brown and Company. 2006. Print.
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