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Dialogue Made Easy TMHS

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Sam Shiflet

on 4 September 2015

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Transcript of Dialogue Made Easy TMHS


8 Tips for writing
good dialogue
What is Dialogue?
Why does it matter?
Using dialogue effectively can enhance not only your characters, but your audience's understanding and connection to the work.
1. Listen to How People Talk.
Having a sense of natural speech patterns is essential to good dialogue. Start to pay attention to the expressions that people use and the music of everyday conversation.
conversation between two or more people.
What is dialogue, and why does it matter?
Writing dialogue- realistic dialogue, anyway- — does not come easily to everyone. Done well, dialogue
advances the story
fleshes out the characters
while providing a break from straight exposition.
2. Not Exactly like Real Speech.
But dialogue should read like real speech. How do you accomplish that? Alfred Hitchcock said that a good story was "life, with the dull parts taken out." This very much applies to dialogue. Edit out the filler words and unessential dialogue that is, the dialogue that doesn't contribute to the plot in some
3. Don't Provide Too Much Info at Once.
It should not be obvious to the reader that they're being fed important facts. Let the story unfold naturally. You don't have to tell the reader everything up front, and you can trust him or her to remember details from earlier in the story.
4. Break Up Dialogue with Action.
Remind your reader that your characters are physical human beings by grounding their dialogue in the physical world. Physical details also help break up the words on the page: long periods of dialogue are easier for the reader's eye when broken up by description.
Example: "Rob can catch up if he wants to," I said, wiping the sweat from my eyes, "he's on the cross country team."
5. Don't Overdo Dialogue Tags.
Veering too much beyond "he said/she said" only draws attention to the tags and you want the reader's attention centered on your brilliant dialogue, not your ability to think of synonyms for "said."

6. Stereotypes, Profanity, and Slang.
Be aware of falling back on stereotypes, and use profanity and slang sparingly. All of these risk distracting or alienating your reader. Anything that takes the reader out of the fictional world you're working so hard to create is not your friend.

7. Read Widely.
Pay attention to why things work or don't work. Where are you taken out of the story's action? Where did you stop believing in a character? Or, alternatively, when did the character really jump off the page, and how did dialogue help accomplish that?
8. Punctuate Dialogue Correctly.
The rules for punctuating dialogue can be confusing: many writers need help getting them right in the beginning. Take some time to learn the basics. A reader should get lost in your prose — not feel lost trying to follow your dialogue.
Puncuating Dialogue
How do I write dialogue?
Rules for Using Quotation Marks
Use quotation marks to enclose a direct quotation – a person’s exact words.

Our team leader says, “I try to practice every day.”

“Let’s go home,” Jeanne suggested.
A directly quoted sentence begins with a capital letter.

Mrs. Talbot said, “Please get a pencil.”

Kristina asked, “Is it my turn?”
Split dialogue
When an expression identifying the speaker interrupts a quoted sentence the second part of the quotation begins with a lowercase letter.

“Will you take care of my lawn and pets,” asked Mr. Franklin, “while I’m on vacation next month?”

* The expression identifying the speaker is called a speaker’s tag.
If a quoted sentence is divided, a comma usually follows the first part and comes before the second part.

“Oh,” Donna commented, “he’s probably just saying that because he’s never had a cat.”
My mom always says I tried to raise you right
Mr. Washington said the keys are in the third drawer from the right
My mom always says

I tried to raise you right
Mr. Washington said
, "T
he keys are in the third drawer from the right
Can you buy me a soda questioned Jamie for my parched throat
Ouch screamed Damion that spider bit me
Can you buy me a soda
questioned Jamie
, "
for my parched throat
screamed Damion

that spider bit me
Quote at the Beginning…
If a quotation mark comes at the beginning of a sentence, a comma, question mark, or exclamation point usually follows it.

“Dogs make better pets than cats do,” said Jared.
“Have you ever had a cat?” Emily asked.
“No, and I never will!” he replied.
Quote at the end…
If a quotation comes at the end of a sentence, a comma usually comes before it.

Terra asked, “What makes you say that?”
Did you get her number Joe asked
Kelly screamed catch that guy, he stole my purse
Did you get her number
Joe asked
Kelly screamed
, "
Catch that guy
he stole my purse
Punctuation inside Quotes
A period or a comma should
be placed inside the quotation marks.

“I can’t wait to see Shirley Caesar’s new video,” James said. “It’s supposed to come out next week.”
I wish the school year was over Jarred sighed It's getting hard to stay focused
I wish the school year was over
Jarred sighed

t's getting hard to stay focused
Exception to the rule:
A question mark or an exclamation point should be placed inside closing quotation marks when the
quotation itself
is a question or an exclamation. Otherwise, it should be placed outside.

“What time will you be home from work, Mom?” asked Michael.
Who said, “All the world’s a stage”?
“Stop!” yelled the crossing patrol.
What a surprise to hear Susana say, “We’re moving back to Puerto Rico in June”!
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