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Jan's Writing Basics #5b--Dialog

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

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Postby glorybee » Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:55 pm

Catrina, exclamations are fine in dialog--just as long as that's where they stay.

I really like yours--you used internal dialog (thinking) to show Tina's conflict.
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Postby glorybee » Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:02 pm

PamDavis wrote:Like most young girls, Jocelyn felt like her mother must be clueless to her generation. In a heated disagreement about her choice of a night time movie, she defiantly stood her ground.
“How can you be so mean to me? All the other parents are letting their kids go! I’ll just die if Ashley and Tiffani go without me! The movie isn’t really about an axe murder! They just called it Spring Break Axe Murderer to sell more tickets.”

Tina liked to think of herself as lenient. She read the latest parenting articles in an effort to keep up to date with the teens of today. Surely things could not have changed that much since she grew up in the 1980’s. She stretched the boundaries wanting to keep peace, and a close mother-daughter relationship. Some issues left no room for compromise.

“Jocelyn, you know the rules. You are never allowed to see R rated violent movies! Call your friends and pick out another movie. If it’s OK, I’ll let you go out tonight. If not, you’ll stay home and clean your room! End of discussion!”

It is not always easy to write on the level of younger people, but so nice when things really fit...

Pam


Pam, instead of telling us what Jocelyn and Tina thought--why not write their thoughts?

Something like this:

Jocelyn glared at her mother, hands knotted. (this shows her defiance, and you don't have to use the adverb 'defiantly'.) She doesn't have a clue...She spat out angry words. “You're so mean! Everyone else is going! I’ll just die if Ashley and Tiffani go without me! The movie isn’t really about an axe murder! They just called it Spring Break Axe Murderer to sell more tickets.” (I just saved some words, tightened the paragraph, and went from "tell" to "show")

Want to give the second paragraph another shot?
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Postby Cajunluvie » Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:37 pm

glorybee wrote:Cajunluvie, I think you did an excellent job capturing the personalities of both these gals. I only question this line:

"I'm going to be laughed out at Ryder High."

I'm pretty sure Tina knows where her daughter goes to school, and I just can't picture a 9th grader saying that. I'd be like me saying to my hubby "Hon, I really loved the service this morning at Three Oaks Free Methodist." More likely:

"They'll laugh at me!" Kids just don't string together long sentences, generally.

What do you think?


Yours sounds more realistic, I agree.

But then, this is only a practice paragraph. If it was a novel, then it might take in the possibly that Jocelyn tends to be excessively dramatic and she takes drama classes. I could see her saying that. Some kids are just naturally so dramatic that they have to blow everything up out of proportion.

But for this paragraph- I think yours works much better.

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Postby Cajunluvie » Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:39 pm

glorybee wrote:
PamDavis wrote:Like most young girls, Jocelyn felt like her mother must be clueless to her generation. In a heated disagreement about her choice of a night time movie, she defiantly stood her ground.
“How can you be so mean to me? All the other parents are letting their kids go! I’ll just die if Ashley and Tiffani go without me! The movie isn’t really about an axe murder! They just called it Spring Break Axe Murderer to sell more tickets.”

Tina liked to think of herself as lenient. She read the latest parenting articles in an effort to keep up to date with the teens of today. Surely things could not have changed that much since she grew up in the 1980’s. She stretched the boundaries wanting to keep peace, and a close mother-daughter relationship. Some issues left no room for compromise.

“Jocelyn, you know the rules. You are never allowed to see R rated violent movies! Call your friends and pick out another movie. If it’s OK, I’ll let you go out tonight. If not, you’ll stay home and clean your room! End of discussion!”

It is not always easy to write on the level of younger people, but so nice when things really fit...

Pam


Pam, instead of telling us what Jocelyn and Tina thought--why not write their thoughts?

Something like this:

Jocelyn glared at her mother, hands knotted. (this shows her defiance, and you don't have to use the adverb 'defiantly'.) She doesn't have a clue...She spat out angry words. “You're so mean! Everyone else is going! I’ll just die if Ashley and Tiffani go without me! The movie isn’t really about an axe murder! They just called it Spring Break Axe Murderer to sell more tickets.” (I just saved some words, tightened the paragraph, and went from "tell" to "show")

Want to give the second paragraph another shot?


Oh, I like that adjusted dialogue. I see what you mean. Jocelyn really sounds like a spoiled and angry teenager stirring up drama with her mother.

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Postby glorybee » Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:40 pm

Totally agree with you there, Cajunluvie! Having taught teens for 30 years, I've known more than a few drama queens.

Point well taken!
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Postby OldManRivers » Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:38 pm

Jocelyn snapped back to her mother, “I can’t believe you won’t let me go to the movies. Ashley and Tiffani are going. Everybody else’s parents are letting them go. Gee, Mom, just because it’s called Spring Break Axe Murderer, you freak out.”

“Cut me some slack, Jocelyn. Geez, what a drama queen."

After a few minutes of mutual pouting, Tina finally gave in. "Alright. You can go. But please, please, be careful, okay? You and me- BFF's, right?”

"Sure, Mom." As Jocelyn dashed off, Tina fretted, “She’s just like me.”

_________________

Dad and sons version--

Scott slammed down the phone. "Whatdaya mean, I can't go?"

His father glared back. "Say what?"

"Why can't I go? Bill and Jeff are going. But oh no, I never get do anything."

"You better watch your mouth, boy."

Scott took a breath. "Dad, come on. I'm sure you saw horror movies when you are my age."

"We're not talking about me, son."

"Well, it's not fair."

"Who ever said, 'Life was fair?'"

"I dunno." Scott now settled into a full blown sulk.

After that, they both broke into a long, silent stare. "Okay, Scott. Do what you want? But you better not mess up."

Scott darted out; his Dad sank into his chair.
Last edited by OldManRivers on Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
May God's gentle grace be with you.

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Postby Cajunluvie » Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:46 pm

glorybee wrote:Totally agree with you there, Cajunluvie! Having taught teens for 30 years, I've known more than a few drama queens.

Point well taken!


Hooray! (Dances in the kitchen like Snoopy the Dog)

Ok, back on topic. :lol:

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Postby CatLin » Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:58 pm

Cajunluvie wrote:
glorybee wrote:Totally agree with you there, Cajunluvie! Having taught teens for 30 years, I've known more than a few drama queens.

Point well taken!


Hooray! (Dances in the kitchen like Snoopy the Dog)

Ok, back on topic. :lol:


:lol: Affirmation from Jan makes me happy-dance too. :lol:
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Postby glorybee » Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:33 pm

Jim--wonderful job!
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Postby PamDavis » Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:43 pm

Tina tuned Jocelyn out. Her thoughts put her on the defensive. I’m not a kill joy. I read the latest parenting articles in an effort to keep up to date with the teens of today. Surely things could not have changed that much since I grew up in the 1980’s. Keeping peace with her is not easy. She is not going to manipulate me this time.

“Jocelyn, you know the rules. You are never allowed to see R rated violent movies! Call your friends and pick out another movie. If it’s OK, I’ll let you go out tonight. If not, you’ll stay home and clean your room! End of discussion!”

Pam
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Postby violin4jesus » Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:43 am

Jocelyn sunk into the kitchen chair, exasperation reflecting in her fourteen-year-old face. "Mother, since when did you turn all like 'Puritan' in your opinions? Ashley and Tiffani's moms are at least halfway normal."

Tina gave her the most stern look she could muster. "Well, daughter, I don't really like the idea of you watching Spring Break Axe Murderer, no matter what your friends' moms think."

"Come'on, Mom! Everyone else is going! I'm going to be like the most uncool teenager in the world if I don't show up tonight, y'know." She glared. "I can't believe you're so unreasonable."

Tina bit her lip, holding back a harsh retort. Breathe, Tina, breathe. They said these years would be hard. She closed her eyes, remembering years back, and the arguing with her mom over the date with Tom.

"Jocelyn Grace, the only reason why I don't like the idea of you hanging with those girls is because they have no restraint. What else will they push you into? Do you really want to end up like me - pregnant at seventeen?"

Jocelyn paused, choosing her words carefully. Whenever her mom got into preaching mode, there was no stopping the lecture. "Sorry, Mom. I know there's a lot of trouble out there for me to get into. I'm not planning to do anything stupid."

"And do you see why I'm worried for you?"

Jocelyn folded her hands into a prayerlike pose. "Yes, I see. And I promise I will be careful, and come straight home after the movie. Please, just for once, can't I be normal like everyone else?"

Tina stood silently, pondering the wisdom in relenting to her teenager. This might be the only chance to salvage the friendship I have with Jocelyn. If I don't keep the 'cool' attitude she may run away from home and do even more stupid things. She sighed. Why, God? Why is it so difficult?

Finally she spoke. "Fine. You can go. But I am driving you and picking you up, young lady. No funny business."

Jocelyn leaped up and kissed her on the cheek. "Thanks, Mom! You're the best!" She quickly disappeared around the corner, calling out, "I'm gonna call Ash and let her know, k?"

"K!" Tina called back, leaning against the counter in exhaustion. She is so much like me....

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Postby CatLin » Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:04 am

Wow, Leah!

:star2

(sorry, couldn't wait for Jan. ;))
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Postby Green Leaves » Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:20 am

Okay, here's mine:

"Mom, I'm going with Ashley and Tiffani to the movies tonight, okay?" yelled Jocelyn as she threw her books on the table and raced for the fridge.

"What movie?"

"Spring Break Axe Murderer. And before you start, all the other kids get to go."

"But..."

"Mom, come on, PLEASE!"

Maybe I am being too hard on her.

"Well, all right. But be sure you're home by 10:00, okay?"


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Postby Green Leaves » Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:21 am

Now I'll go back and read the others' submissions.
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Postby Green Leaves » Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:37 am

After reading all the others, mine sounds so blah. Sorry, I TOLD you I would have difficulty with this. I guess I needed to embroider the story a little more, right?

(I would use the excuse that I've had a really bad fibro day--which is true-- but it still wouldn't help me write this.) :lol:
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