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Just Talkin'

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So, the main reason I'm not blathering here much is because I've taken my blather elsewhere.  And when it comes to longer blather, well, I'm trying to blather out an entire novel.  No, it's not any kind of NaNoBlahBlah thing, but... I have an idea, I'm gonna try to make it happen.  At the moment, I seem to be averaging about 500 words a night, at best, and then once the story is laid down there will be a long period of editing and fixing all the stupid parts and whatnot.

Also, I find writing dialog easy.  I enjoy reproducing the way people talk.  But I find dialog in prose difficult - stuff like when do you put in a "she said" or a "he whined."  I mean shouldn't the dialog just show who said what?  But of course that's tough, and when you get more than 8 or 9 lines in of quoted dialog it's easy to get lost.  For instance, imagine this conversation between a bus driver and a passenger:

"Good morning," said Bob, as he stepped onto the bus.
"Morning to you too, Bob," answered Mamie, as she said every morning.
"Seems like a good morning."
"It does, doesn't it?"
"Have you been watching these crazy debates?"
"Oh no, I just can't stand those Republicans."
"Ha!  I don't blame you, but I guess I feel like I ought to keep an eye on the other side just in case."
"That's a pretty good point, I hadn't thought of it like that!"
"Sometimes I feel like it doesn't make any difference anyway, though."
"I know what you mean."
"You know what, though?
"What?"
"No matter who wins, you and I will both be here on this bus tomorrow, right?"
"You are so right!"

So who said the last line?  You can count back and figure it out, but... that's not something you should have to do in a book.  Indeed, if you do have to, I submit to you that the author has screwed up.  When you're writing a screenplay, or even a regular play, it's a lot easier.

Anyway, the point is, I probably will continue to not be around here much.  But I wanted to write about the difficulties I'm having in writing.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
essentialsaltes
Mar. 18th, 2012 03:07 pm (UTC)
stuff like when do you put in a "she said" or a "he whined." I mean shouldn't the dialog just show who said what?

Those he saids and she saids (or slightly more complicated versions) are chances to reveal character, or do something else with the story that hands a lifeline to the reader to keep track of who's speaking.

"Good morning," said Bob, as he stepped onto the bus.
"Morning to you too, Bob," answered Mamie, as she said every morning.
"Seems like a good morning."
"It does, doesn't it?"
As the bus labored slowly into motion, he took his hand off the wheel to point at the angry faces staring out of the newspaper boxes. "Have you been watching these crazy debates?"
She shook her head dismissively. "Oh no, I just can't stand those Republicans."
"Ha! I don't blame you, but I guess I feel like I ought to keep an eye on the other side just in case." As he warmed to his topic, he took his eyes off the road to face her... look her up and down.
"That's a pretty good point, I hadn't thought of it like that!" She edged away and took a seat.
He turned back to the road, just in time to see a coffee cup get crushed under his front right tire. "Sometimes I feel like it doesn't make any difference anyway, though."
"I know what you mean."
Tossing her another quick glance, he called back to her, "You know what, though?"
"What?"
"No matter who wins, you and I will both be here on this bus tomorrow, right?"
She opened and began to read the acceptance letter for the tenth time that morning. "You are so right!"
dogofthefuture
Mar. 20th, 2012 09:58 am (UTC)
Well done, sir, very well done indeed! Unfortunately for me, in my "book," the characters often just talk to each other, so...
essentialsaltes
Mar. 20th, 2012 03:39 pm (UTC)
Well, they can still fidget, or toy with their hair, or rub their chins, or stifle a yawn, or gaze soul-searchingly, or look away, or...

Or if they're on the phone, they can doodle, or pour more coffee, or what-have-you.
ajax
Mar. 20th, 2012 04:54 pm (UTC)
Sounds like your "book" is more of a "screenplay." Let the director figure out who toys with what.

--- Ajax.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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