#1 Posted by The Poet (8336 posts) - - Show Bio

So I promised to write this thread for Irishlad's How To Write Fan Fiction writing project. and I did. But then it collected dust on my flash drive because I got busy with stuff. However, I found it again, so yeah!

So, let's talk dialogue, shall we?

After you watch a movie, what do you remember the most? If you are like me, then you can't really recreate the actions of Iron Man or Thor, not well anyway (NOTE: If you can, then I totally respect you). However, you can recreate the lines you hear (or, in the case of comics: read). I mean, after the movie The Avengers came out, I kept hearing Robert Downing Jr.'s "We have a Hulk!" line everywhere I went. What I mean to say is: dialogue sticks with us longer than the actual events of the movie. Everyone can say, "E.T. .... Phone Home" with the cute alien's speech patterns if you are good at imitation like I am. However, at least in my case, I don't honestly remember a thing about what happens in that Stephen Spielberg movie (I remember the bike and a few other scenes, but that's it. That line is the major thing I remember about that movie). So, while actors do help mold the tone of a movie, it is the script writers scribbling down lines of dialogue that make the most impact on whether a movie is good or bad or, heck, even remembered.

The same could be said about writers of stories like those published here in CV's Fan-Fic section. Not to pick on any of my fellow writer's themes, but while good descriptions of fight scenes and the ability to write for heroes and villains are important for a good story, I believe the most important aspect of a story is its dialogue. It can help a character express their feelings and also explain why Iron Man is trying to beat up the God of Lightening.

When you are writing dialogue, you should put yourself in the character's shoes.

If, for example, the character whose dialogue you are writing is a preexisting character...............

  • think about the past appearances of the character. Given the character's background, what would a character's reaction be to an event or speech? Would they be happy or sad? How would they phrase a reply to a challenge? Would they be surprised, angered, or happy? What emotions would they feel?
  • Sort of connecting to phasing, given a character's upbringing, how would a character say something? Do they have an accent? If they do, then that could be something to consider. It depends if you care or not to include an accent in the lines a character says. However, you should at the very least consider picking your words carefully. If the character is, say, British (to use an example from my Batman's Butler series), then do you really think the character would say "Y'all" or "Hold you're horses, little missy! I be a'coming!" ? I would say NO, based on my hours of watching shows like Are You Being Served? and Doctor Who (which totally makes me an expert in these things!)

Now, if, for another example, the character whose dialogue you are writing is a new character...............

  • What is your character like? Do they shy from the spotlight and don't want attention? OR, ARE THEY BOLD AND HAPPY TO SOAK UP THE SPOTLIGHT? These character traits are important when writing dialogue. They can change the meaning of a phase entirely. For example, take the line, "let me go":

"Let me go," whispered the huddled mass of rags, shivering as the guards seized him.

OR...

"Let go of me!" he shouted at the man eating bunny.

  • Both are correctly phrased, but only one can fit your creation.

Advice

As many of you know, I have worked as an editor for the 5th World Order FF series (RIP btw) and more recently as an editor for individual stories. One thing I notice that a lot of new writers have trouble with is formatting. Always remember put new paragraphs when someone new is talking or if there is an action that goes in between a person's speech. It is very hard for people to read if it's not formatted right. So keep that in mind.

Also remember to read your work outloud as if you were the character. I have always found that helps. Plus: it makes the people around you think you're even more crazy than you actually are which is always awsome.

I think that raps things up. Probably I could have talked more, but all of us have our own way of saying things, so now is the time to turn things over to you. How would you write dialogue in a story? You have any advice you want to add?

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#2 Posted by The Poet (8336 posts) - - Show Bio

guess what I finally posted?

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#3 Posted by batkevin74 (10793 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Poet:

As many of you know, I have worked as an editor for the 5th World Order FF series (RIP btw)

#4 Posted by The Poet (8336 posts) - - Show Bio

@batkevin74: thanks

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#5 Posted by CapFanboy (5125 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Poet: Nice!

@The Poet said:

But then it collected dust on my flash drive

You...write things away from Comic Vine? I usually write mine in the post from start to finish, when did people start doing this? Oh...they always have been? That's why mine sucked so much? Yeah? Okay...

#6 Posted by Irishlad (573 posts) - - Show Bio

Great job on this, it was worth the wait :P

#7 Posted by The Poet (8336 posts) - - Show Bio

@Irishlad: thanks

You know, I wrote this when I was suposed to, but for some reason I didn't post it...I actually don't remember why I didn't, but when that guy bumped thread last week it reminded me about it so I looked for it and found it.

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#8 Posted by Cage_2913_69 (64 posts) - - Show Bio

Make sure you write in the style of the person. For example: could you hear a gangster saying

"Sir, come back here with my money"

or

"'Ey, get you punk @$$ ova here and give me my money!"

I'm not sure if you said this but just adding something

This is a really good article.

#9 Posted by The Poet (8336 posts) - - Show Bio

@Cage_2913_69: nice addition

@Cage_2913_69 said:

This is a really good article.

thanks

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#10 Posted by thespideyguy (2642 posts) - - Show Bio

@Cage_2913_69: haha

#11 Posted by dmkicksballs13 (110 posts) - - Show Bio

To add, exposition is extremely important. I.e. letting the audience know with out spelling it out.

#12 Posted by BumpyBoo (9288 posts) - - Show Bio

@dmkicksballs13 said:

To add, exposition is extremely important. I.e. letting the audience know with out spelling it out.

Very true. Often dialogue is unnaturally forced for the purpose of conveying information. In real life, there are other indicators as to what a person means, such as tone, body language and previous knowledge of the person's behaviour. These can be tricky to convey on paper though.

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#13 Posted by UnderDogs_OverBoard (1137 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Poet said:

As many of you know, I have worked as an editor for the 5th World Order FF series (RIP btw) and more recently as an editor for individual stories. One thing I notice that a lot of new writers have trouble with is formatting. Always remember put new paragraphs when someone new is talking or if there is an action that goes in between a person's speech. It is very hard for people to read if it's not formatted right. So keep that in mind.

You should have given me a shout out or maybe winked at me

#14 Posted by The Poet (8336 posts) - - Show Bio

@UnderDogs_OverBoard said:

@The Poet said:

As many of you know, I have worked as an editor for the 5th World Order FF series (RIP btw) and more recently as an editor for individual stories. One thing I notice that a lot of new writers have trouble with is formatting. Always remember put new paragraphs when someone new is talking or if there is an action that goes in between a person's speech. It is very hard for people to read if it's not formatted right. So keep that in mind.

You should have given me a shout out or maybe winked at me

I wouldn't name names :P

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#15 Posted by UnderDogs_OverBoard (1137 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Poet: Ha!

I love YOU!

you are my second favorite mod!

#16 Posted by The Poet (8336 posts) - - Show Bio

@UnderDogs_OverBoard: may I ask is your first so I can bump them off...I mean congratulate them? :)

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#17 Posted by UnderDogs_OverBoard (1137 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Poet said:

@UnderDogs_OverBoard: may I ask is your first so I can bump them off...I mean congratulate them? :)

HAHA!

It's but please refrain from bumping people off that is BAD

is my third if you are asking BTW

#18 Posted by The Poet (8336 posts) - - Show Bio

@UnderDogs_OverBoard said:

@The Poet said:

@UnderDogs_OverBoard: may I ask is your first so I can bump them off...I mean congratulate them? :)

HAHA!

It's but please refrain from bumping people off that is BAD

is my third if you are asking BTW

I wouldn't bump off icarus...or Razz for that matter...

I'd just tell Icarus there was a Lovecraft convention in a place where there isn't internet access and while she is gone I will absorb her account and become....The Poetflies! :D

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#19 Posted by UnderDogs_OverBoard (1137 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Poet said:

@UnderDogs_OverBoard said:

@The Poet said:

@UnderDogs_OverBoard: may I ask is your first so I can bump them off...I mean congratulate them? :)

HAHA!

It's but please refrain from bumping people off that is BAD

is my third if you are asking BTW

I wouldn't bump off icarus...or Razz for that matter...

I'd just tell Icarus there was a Lovecraft convention in a place where there isn't internet access and while she is gone I will absorb her account and become....The Poetflies! :D

absorbing accounts? WOW?

she loves H.P. Lovecraft? NIICE...

#20 Posted by Icarusflies (12503 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Poet said:

@UnderDogs_OverBoard said:

@The Poet said:

@UnderDogs_OverBoard: may I ask is your first so I can bump them off...I mean congratulate them? :)

HAHA!

It's but please refrain from bumping people off that is BAD

is my third if you are asking BTW

I wouldn't bump off icarus...or Razz for that matter...

I'd just tell Icarus there was a Lovecraft convention in a place where there isn't internet access and while she is gone I will absorb her account and become....The Poetflies! :D

POET! You lied to me! There wasn't a Mountains of Madness convention in Antarctica! I had to get directions home from a penguin!

@UnderDogs_OverBoard: Aww, thanks! :D

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#21 Posted by UnderDogs_OverBoard (1137 posts) - - Show Bio

@Icarusflies said:

@The Poet said:

@UnderDogs_OverBoard said:

@The Poet said:

@UnderDogs_OverBoard: may I ask is your first so I can bump them off...I mean congratulate them? :)

HAHA!

It's but please refrain from bumping people off that is BAD

is my third if you are asking BTW

I wouldn't bump off icarus...or Razz for that matter...

I'd just tell Icarus there was a Lovecraft convention in a place where there isn't internet access and while she is gone I will absorb her account and become....The Poetflies! :D

POET! You lied to me! There wasn't a Mountains of Madness convention in Antarctica! I had to get directions home from a penguin!

@UnderDogs_OverBoard: Aww, thanks! :D

LOL

#22 Posted by mrdecepticonleader (18052 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Poet: Thanks for posting this.Could help alot of writers.

#23 Posted by The Poet (8336 posts) - - Show Bio

@mrdecepticonleader: you're welcome. I'm glad you liked it.

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#24 Posted by 4donkeyjohnson (1673 posts) - - Show Bio

Bump'd

#25 Posted by batkevin74 (10793 posts) - - Show Bio

BOOM, exploded forward from page 16 to the top!

#26 Posted by xxxddd (3572 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Poet: I don't know if you want to add this or not, but I learned that being a good writer doesn't mean you get the exact right amount of dialogue the first try without ever having to press the delete key, but sometimes(if not most) you have to press that delete key until it screams out in agony.

I have dozens of ideas but I eventually learned that when I put them on paper I constantly change how I want the story to be told, when I write scenes I see where I cut stuff out that isn't essential to character development,etc.

#27 Posted by Pyrogram (38442 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Poet: Very helpful mate

Online
#28 Posted by The Poet (8336 posts) - - Show Bio

@batkevin74 said:

BOOM, exploded forward from page 16 to the top!

snazy!

@Pyrogram: thanks. glad it helps. forgot entirely what I wrote, but I'm glad it helps

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#29 Posted by poze (225 posts) - - Show Bio

@Cage_2913_69: both? I wish gangstas would talk like Alfred...

#30 Posted by BRAZEKOOL (30 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't even know where to start. I feel like this article somehow spoon-feeds me something I am unable to absorb. To no error of you, I might add. Whenever I feel inspired and want to write something, what I end up doing is writing what looks like a synopsis for a book to begin with, and have no idea where to go from there. I also find it extremely difficult to motivate myself to keep at anything. Quite a few partially-written things I look back on later and just stare at it, not even knowing what to do with it. Any advice via PM would be great. As a new user with limited posting priv's, I'm using them carefully, to establish contact with members of my newly-found online community.