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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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Harvestgal
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Oh well, I'll give it a try

Postby Harvestgal » Fri Feb 19, 2010 11:32 pm

I'm so not good at this, hate editing my own work so fixing someone elses. Wow. Did it before when I taught esl overseas, but that's different. It's with non=english speaking people, trying to learn English. Anyway, I feel God wants me to practice and improve my writing so I'm gonna try this, if the kids give me a little time before they demand my attention.

HOMEWORK: Fix this. Feel free to do whatever it needs--add to it, develop it, be creative!

Jocelyn, a 14-year-old girl, was upset with her mother! "I can not believe that you will not let me go to see the movie called Spring Break Axe Murderer, with my best friends Ashley and Tiffani. All of the teenagers are going to the movie theater this evening."

Tina, a mother only in her early thirties because she had had Jocelyn when she was very young herself, was one of those mothers who tries to be a friend to her teenager. She thought for a while, and after seeing Jocelyn's great unhappiness, she decided to relent. "You may go to the movies with your young friends tonight. Be certain that you are cautious and careful, please." She is just like me, Tina thought to herself.

"Oh, Mom, you can't be serious. You mean, I can't go see 'Spring break Axe Murderer,' with Ashley and Tiffani. It's just a movie, Mooom. Come on."

"Jocelyn baby, a movie like that can't be good for you guys to watch."

"Mom, how can you even tell me it's bad for me when you haven't even seen the movie. You think you know what's best for me. You have no idea how important it is for me to go. Come on mom, can't you understand. Everyone has seen this movie. You want me to just sit home in my room and do nothing, while my friends go watch the movie and talk about it tomorrow. They'll ask me why I didn't go. And what am I supposed to say. My Dorky Mom, thought it was bad and wouldn't let me go.

"Joycelyn, watch how you talk to me."

"Ok, mom, but you don't care about me, so you can treat me however you like. It doesn't matter how much tonight meant to me, you just want me to treat you right. Ok, Mom. But....I'm really upset with you. You don't understand me."

Jocelyn, Look...I do understand, I had you when I was about your age. I don't want you to make the same mistakes I made."

"Mom, I'm not gay. These are my girls I want to hang out with. No boys mom. I won't get pregnant, Promise."

"Jocelyn, Please, watch how you talk to me."

"Sorry"

Sigh. "Alright, you can go. But come straight home after the movie."

"Thanks, Mom, Thanks sooo much for understanding."

"Whatever, I don't know why your so much like me".

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stepping_Heavenward
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Postby stepping_Heavenward » Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:47 am

Hi Jan,

Thanks so much for pointing out to me where I goofed-- in that one little paragraph. :( And it did make a big difference in writing such a short story. Again, thanks, Jan.

I appreciate your encouragements, time, and lessons you provide for us.
God bless you richly.
SteppingHeavenward

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Green Leaves
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Postby Green Leaves » Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:12 am

Yeah, I had already done the gallstones a few years back and they took the gall bladder too! :lol: So far no liver stones. I'll pass, thank you. (Wee, little problem...there are lots of kidney stones still in left kidney that I hope settle down or disappear.)

But the spiritual conversations in the hospital were wonderful! Good out of bad...every time. I had a lot of prayer support going on here on FW. Praise God!

Onward and upward...
http://www.faithwriters.com/member-profile.php?id=45576

"God has not called me to be successful, God has called me to be faithful." Mother Teresa

"...not to advance in the spiritual life is to go back. But those who have the gale of the Holy Spirit go forward even in sleep.". Brother Lawrence

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Ok, giving it a go.

Postby flyingcross » Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:21 pm

“Life’s not fair.” Arms crossed, shoulders hunched, glaring at her Mom.

“It’s not that bad.” Tina almost laughs at the teen-age mirror image of herself staring at her with doom and gloom.
“There will be another movie, one without axe murderers and gore, I promise, then you can go.”

Lip quivering, pouting now, the edge of a tear filming her eyes,”…but Mom, everyone else gets to go. Really. Even Ashley and Tiffani. You know their Mom’s…they’re like you,” her nose scrunches in distaste.

Again, almost laughing, Tina covers her mouth, just like me, Mom. You told me I’d understand someday. “Tell me who’s driving, what time the movie is over, and when you will be home.”

It takes a second to register, then like a light bulb switched on, “Really. Really Mom. Oh, oh, Tiffi’s Mom is driving, …and,and, I’ll have to ask, and--Mom, you’re the best!” Leaping up and running to her room to get dressed.

A single tear, quivering lip, a mirror image of her daughter, only older—all grown up, she won’t need me much longer.

“Mom. No, nothings wrong. Just wanted to call and tell you I love you. No, really, nothing wrong, Joc’s just gone out with friends. No, girls. No boys yet,” laughing, “I know Mom. You told me. I’m just now starting to listen.”

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glorybee
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Postby glorybee » Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:21 pm

Just stopping by to say that we have company, so I haven't had time to respond to these last few. Will come and do it tomorrow afternoon, once things calm down around here.
Jan Ackerson

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Postby philippa » Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:15 am

Voila! Deja vu!! I clearly remmeber my mother saying "we have company - be quiet, go away and play and do not interrupt the adults'. It just made me want to get into mischief :P I shall go and work on dialogue. P.

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glorybee
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Re: Oh well, I'll give it a try

Postby glorybee » Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:43 pm

Harvestgal, great job! I've put a few comments in red in your little conversation below.

Harvestgal wrote:"Oh, Mom, you can't be serious. You mean, I can't go see 'Spring break Axe Murderer,' with Ashley and Tiffani. That last sentence seems stilted, an awkward way to get the name of the movie in there. It's just a movie, Mooom I like that Mooom. Come on."

"Jocelyn baby, a movie like that can't be good for you guys to watch." Excellent--sounds like a youngish mom.

"Mom, how can you even tell me it's bad for me when you haven't even seen the movie. You think you know what's best for me. You have no idea how important it is for me to go. Come on mom, can't you understand. Everyone has seen this movie. You want me to just sit home in my room and do nothing, while my friends go watch the movie and talk about it tomorrow. They'll ask me why I didn't go. And what am I supposed to say. My Dorky Mom, thought it was bad and wouldn't let me go. In general, this strikes me as too long. I'd trim it by at least half.

"Joycelyn, watch how you talk to me."

"Ok, mom, but you don't care about me, so you can treat me however you like. It doesn't matter how much tonight meant to me, you just want me to treat you right. Ok, Mom. But....I'm really upset with you. The last sentence, again--doesn't sound quite like what a teen would say. You don't understand me."

Jocelyn, Look...I do understand, I had you when I was about your age. I don't want you to make the same mistakes I made."

"Mom, I'm not gay. These are my girls I want to hang out with. No boys mom. I won't get pregnant, Promise."

"Jocelyn, Please, watch how you talk to me."

"Sorry"

Sigh. Instead of just this one word, make it a sentence. Tina sighed and slumped to the chair. "Alright, you can go. But come straight home after the movie."

"Thanks, Mom, Thanks sooo much for understanding."

"Whatever, I don't know why your you're so much like me".


Your "homework" may have been the best at portraying Tina as a mom perhaps too young and too inexperienced to deal with a headstrong teenager. Very, very good!
Jan Ackerson

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glorybee
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Postby glorybee » Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:47 pm

Flyingcross, your dialog was excellent, and really met the requirements of the lesson.

There are some other issues in sentence structure and tense--let me know in a PM or as a reply to this thread if you'd like me to point them out here or as a "private lesson".

Thanks so much for contributing--I love this class, and watching writers stretch and grow. Well done!
Jan Ackerson

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Thanks Jan

Postby flyingcross » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:21 pm

Please feel free to edit. I'm afraid the punctuation class just managed to jumble it up in my aged brain cells, and now they just fly out wherever they want to like a freight of chickens dropped on a busy highway.
Thanks,
Cindy

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Thanks Jan

Postby Harvestgal » Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:21 pm

Thanks Jan for the insight and for helping us all improve our writing.

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glorybee
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Re: Ok, giving it a go.

Postby glorybee » Sun Feb 21, 2010 5:09 pm

Okay, flyingcross--thanks for being a good sport! I'm go to do a suggested re-write of a few of your paragraphs, and then suggest that you finish in the same vein. My suggestions will be in red, under your paragraphs.

flyingcross wrote:“Life’s not fair.” Arms crossed, shoulders hunched, glaring at her Mom.

"Life's not fair." Jocelyn crosses her arms and hunches her shoulders, glaring at her mom.

“It’s not that bad.” Tina almost laughs at the teen-age mirror image of herself staring at her with doom and gloom.
“There will be another movie, one without axe murderers and gore, I promise, then you can go.”

No changes for sentence structure or tense, but I'd eliminate the cliche 'gloom and doom'.

Lip quivering, pouting now, the edge of a tear filming her eyes,”…but Mom, everyone else gets to go. Really. Even Ashley and Tiffani. You know their Mom’s…they’re like you,” her nose scrunches in distaste.

Jocelyn's lip is quivering and she's pouting now, the edge of a tear filming her eyes. "But Mom, everyone else gets to go. Really! Even Ashley and Tiffani. You know their moms...they're just like you." Her nose scrunches in distaste.

Again, almost laughing, Tina covers her mouth, just like me, Mom. You told me I’d understand someday. “Tell me who’s driving, what time the movie is over, and when you will be home.”

Almost laughing, Tina covers her mouth. Well, Mother, you told me I'd have a daughter just like me some day. "Tell me who's driving, and when you'll be home."

It takes a second to register, then like a light bulb switched on, “Really. Really Mom. Oh, oh, Tiffi’s Mom is driving, …and,and, I’ll have to ask, and--Mom, you’re the best!” Leaping up and running to her room to get dressed.

It takes a second to register, then a light bulb switches on. "Really? Really, Mom? You're the best!" Jocelyn leaps up and runs to her room. (NOTE--I'd prefer getting rid of the 'light bulb' as a cliche, but I kept it in so you could see how I switched the tense back to present tense to be consistent with the rest of the story.)

A single tear, quivering lip, a mirror image of her daughter, only older—all grown up, she won’t need me much longer.

“Mom. No, nothings wrong. Just wanted to call and tell you I love you. No, really, nothing wrong, Joc’s just gone out with friends. No, girls. No boys yet,” laughing, “I know Mom. You told me. I’m just now starting to listen.”


Do you see what I did? I tightened up some of the dialog to improve the pacing--added in Jocelyn's name in a few places to get rid of sentence fragments--fixed the tense--changed the name of Tina's mom to 'Mother' to reduce confusion--maybe a few additional tweaks.

Any questions about any of my changes?
Jan Ackerson

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Thanks Jan

Postby flyingcross » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:17 pm

I love the input, thank you.

A single tear slides slowly down Tina’s face, her lip quivering--
Joc’s all grown up, she won’t need me much longer. Mom was right, I was way too young.


Changed the ending somewhat as well.
I am trying.
Thanks,
C

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Postby glorybee » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:29 pm

Excellent, C! I wouldn't change a word of your new ending!
Jan Ackerson

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Postby honeyrock » Sat Feb 27, 2010 5:17 pm

I took a little liberty:


:D “Honey, are sure it won’t really gross you out?” Tina flipped her hair and turned sideways to view her reflection in the latest seafoam Michael Kors.

“Oh puleeeze, MOM!” Jocelyn huffed, jockeying for position I front of her mom’s mirror. She whipped off the top of her “pom-pom pout” and layered her mouth. “You watch those gory CSIs all the time. They all gouge out people's guts and stuff and you’re like—“ The fourteen year old waggled the tiny pink wand, turkey shot her neck and bulged out her her junior mint eyes.

“I’m studying criminology, remember? I’m not all ‘yah man, isn’t that serial murder soooo-ooo cute???” Tina bent over and tugged up her boot.

“Please Mommy? I’ll even pay for it!” Jocelyn shinnied her tiny hips checking the ride of her denims.

“Oh all right, you little conniver. Don’t whine tomorrow ‘cause you missed out on dinner at Shelter Island.”

“You’re the best, Mommy! All my friends say I got the coolest Mom.” Jocelyn bounced out, chestnut curls swishing.

“You better CALL!” Tina demanded, turning from her childhood reflection and back to the mirror.
Be strong and very courageous Joshua 1:7

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glorybee
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Postby glorybee » Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:01 pm

Honeyrock, you've got very good dialog skills, and your characterization is excellent.

Since your homework is pretty advanced, I'll give you some advanced critique. Take a look at the pattern that you fell into:

a person's dialog + their name + an -ed verb

I'd suggest that you vary that a bit more: sometimes you might begin with the verb phrase, or put it in the middle of a character's speech.

What do you think?
Jan Ackerson

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