To view this notification widget you need to have JavaScript enabled. This notification widget was easily created with NotifySnack.
Home Tour About Read What's New Help Forums Join Login
My Account
Shop
Save
Support
E
Book
Store
Learn
About
Jesus
  




The HOME for Christian writers!
The Home for Christian Writers!

Forums

This area is only a small portion of FaithWriters. The main site can be joined HERE.
Shop & Save to SUPPORT FaithWriters.
Upgrade to SUPPORT FaithWriters.

Jan's Writing Basics #6--More About 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.

Moderators: mikeedwards, glorybee

User avatar
connied
Pencil 5 (200-299 Posts)
Pencil 5 (200-299 Posts)
 
Posts: 268
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 2:33 pm
Location: Kennewick, Wa.n

Postby connied » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:22 am

Hi Jan,

Having a hard time finding time to jump in but I just want to let you know that I've been reading your classes and saving them in a folder for future use. They have been so helpful. Thanks so much for doing this.

Connie
My Profile

"Living with purpose is the only way to really live!" Pastor Rick Warren
"We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts." 1 Thessalonians 2:4

User avatar
Green Leaves
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
 
Posts: 3092
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:06 pm
Location: Evansville, IN

Postby Green Leaves » Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:32 pm

I rarely write dialogue. I usually avoid it like the plague so this should be interesting.

*****

"I really feel like I've screwed up my life. And I'm supposed to be a Christian," confided Melanie as she slumped down on the sofa crying. "I didn't know who else to talk to."

Linda reached out, pulling her into her arms. "Oh, honey, I'm glad you came. You see, I once felt just like you do. Let me tell you a little story."

*****

I used the word "confided" instead of "said" because I felt it was really needed here in this particular intimate setting. I haven't read the other contributions yet because I knew it would really discourage me if I did.

When I start "Oh, honey..." should that be a new paragraph?

Carol Penhorwood
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

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6053
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Postby glorybee » Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:48 pm

Green Leaves wrote:I rarely write dialogue. I usually avoid it like the plague so this should be interesting.

*****

"I really feel like I've screwed up my life. And I'm supposed to be a Christian," confided Melanie as she slumped down on the sofa crying. "I didn't know who else to talk to."

Linda reached out, pulling her into her arms. "Oh, honey, I'm glad you came. You see, I once felt just like you do. Let me tell you a little story."

*****

I used the word "confided" instead of "said" because I felt it was really needed here in this particular intimate setting. I haven't read the other contributions yet because I knew it would really discourage me if I did.

When I start "Oh, honey..." should that be a new paragraph?

Carol Penhorwood


Carol, it's interesting to me that you avoid dialog. Why is that? By the way, publishers love it--because today's readers want "white space", and dialog is one way to get that (the other is short paragraphs--great for pacing).

Totally personal preference, but I'd use 'said' in place of 'confided'. As I mentioned in the class, readers tend to gloss over those attributions, and the essense of 'confided' is covered in "I didn't know who else to talk to."

No new paragraph needed there. Linda's words and her actions go in the same paragraph.

You're doing great!
Jan Ackerson

User avatar
Green Leaves
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
 
Posts: 3092
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:06 pm
Location: Evansville, IN

Postby Green Leaves » Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:12 pm

Jan, I'd probably write more dialogue if I wrote more prose. I know your classes will help me enormously. And the writing challenges are helping me get my feet wet as well. Poetry just comes so much more naturally to me.

I've been testing the waters lately with the challenges but don't seem to do very well. Not complaining, after all, these are first attempts.
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

User avatar
FreedomWriter
Pencil 5 (200-299 Posts)
Pencil 5 (200-299 Posts)
 
Posts: 213
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:51 pm

Postby FreedomWriter » Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:24 pm

glorybee wrote:FreedomWriter, thanks for this little bit of inspiring dialog!

I didn't intend to get into the mechanics of punctuation, but since you and a few before you have made a few common errors in capitalization and punctuation, I just can't let them go. I've corrected the areas of concern in red, below.

FreedomWriter wrote:"I don't know who you think you are," Lance said to his wife. "I'm the one working a real job while you just sit there, typing away on Faithwriters."

"This isn't all fun and games, ya know," replied Mrs. Lance. "One day, it's gonna pay the bills and glorify God, as if you care."

"Really? You really think you can launch your dream with the fire of passion alone?" said Lance.

"I'm convinced of it," Mrs. Lance said as she floated out of the room.


(These characters are purely fictional.) ;)


Did you follow the changes I made in punctuation and spelling?

More to the point, how did you feel about the use of "said" in your dialog?


Jan-
How do we know when to end with a period or with a comma?
I thought I read that if it forms a complete sentence within dialog that we end it with a period. If we interrupt the dialog for a tag we would place a comma?
I would love to know!
Thank you.

As for 'said', if you can 'hear' or visualize the conversation without the descriptive dialog tags, then I feel great! :D

Ohhh! I was also wondering if this part of the story was correct:

alone?" said Lance.

I notice I didn't capitalize 'said' and you also left it alone. So, that's right?
Last edited by FreedomWriter on Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
-Rikki
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Started my very long journey May 29th 2012 toward continued education.
Destination: Doctor of Psychology.

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6053
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Postby glorybee » Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:37 pm

FreedomWriter, in each of the sentences that I corrected, the tag part could not stand alone as a complete sentence:

Lance said to his wife (said what?)
replied Mrs. Lance
Mrs. Lance said as she floated out of the room

These are all fragments, so they need to be attached to the dialog to make a complete sentence.

Ann Grover is going to cover punctuation of dialog more thoroughly in a future class (hang in there...), but there are lots of websites that cover it. This one seems pretty good...

But of course, I'll be glad to answer questions or to clarify.
Jan Ackerson

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6053
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Postby glorybee » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:26 pm

Ohhh! I was also wondering if this part of the story was correct:

alone?" said Lance.

I notice I didn't capitalize 'said' and you also left it alone. So, that's righ?


Yes, that's correct as it stands.

Said Lance

is not a complete sentence, so it has to be tied to the dialog. In this case, the question mark serves the same purpose as the commas in the earlier examples.
Jan Ackerson

User avatar
FreedomWriter
Pencil 5 (200-299 Posts)
Pencil 5 (200-299 Posts)
 
Posts: 213
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:51 pm

Postby FreedomWriter » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:46 am

So, if the dialog tag was a complete sentence, I would have capitalized the new sentence?

Instead of 'said Lance', if I would have said 'Lance responded with a cocky attitude', then the sentence was complete, although Lance had to be capitalized because he was a proper noun.
Maybe...
'He responded with a cocky attitude.'
That would show that 'He' needed to be capitalized not because he is a proper noun but because the sentence was complete...right?
(subject and predicate)
-Rikki
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Started my very long journey May 29th 2012 toward continued education.
Destination: Doctor of Psychology.

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6053
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Postby glorybee » Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:45 am

Well...this is why I like to leave the grammar and punctuation to Ann (who is on a brief vacation)--she KNOWS all this stuff, and I just wing it. But this is my feeling, which you should really check out online (or ask Ann over in her forum).

Here's your original sentence:

"Really? You really think you can launch your dream with the fire of passion alone?" said Lance.


Which is fine as it stands. If you changed it to

"Really? You really think you can launch your dream with the fire of passion alone?" he responded with a cocky attitude.


...I'd keep the 'he' lower case, because it's all still connected; the 'responded' refers to his words in quotes at the beginning of the sentence.

On the other hand, if you wrote it like this...

"Reallly? You really think you can launch your dream with the fire of passion alone?" He snorted, and snapped open his newspaper.

... in that case, I'd capitalize the 'He', as the action isn't tied to the dialog.

By the way, 'he responded with a cocky attitude' isn't the best writing. His words were cocky; to tell the reader his attitude was cocky is redundant. I tried to add to the impression of cockiness in my example by having him snort and snap the newspaper, with the inference that he's dismissing her.

Whew! This is exhausting--grammar and punctuation are HARD for me, believe it or not.

Other questions? Bring 'em on.
Last edited by glorybee on Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jan Ackerson

Deconut
Pencil 1 (1-49 Posts)
Pencil 1 (1-49 Posts)
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:02 am
Location: South Carolina USA

Postby Deconut » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:31 am

Here's my homework:

“The doc says I have low blood pressure.” I could see tears ready to spill down his cheeks.

“What does that mean? How low?” I asked, trying to understand his distress.

“Fifty three over forty eight.” He said. The tears were running freely.

“I have never heard of blood pressure that low.” I said. I wondered if hopelessness had gotten a foothold in his life.

*******************************************
These dialog lessons are fun! After years of writing newsletters, Bible studies, and church bulletins I am really enjoying fiction. I need lots of practice.

Kathie Tollifson
Deconut

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6053
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Postby glorybee » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:57 am

Deconut wrote:Here's my homework:

“The doc says I have low blood pressure.” I could see tears ready to spill down his cheeks.

“What does that mean? How low?” I asked, trying to understand his distress.

“Fifty three over forty eight,” he said. The tears were running freely.

“I have never heard of blood pressure that low,” I said. I wondered if hopelessness had gotten a foothold in his life.

*******************************************
These dialog lessons are fun! After years of writing newsletters, Bible studies, and church bulletins I am really enjoying fiction. I need lots of practice.

Kathie Tollifson
Deconut


Kathie, you did really well with the lesson (said) and also with next week's lesson (tagless dialog). You have the same issues as some previous posters with punctuation and capitalization. I've corrected those in red, above. Take a look at what I did, and read through some of the previous posts for my reasons. If it's not clear, feel free to ask!
Jan Ackerson

User avatar
philippa
Pencil 3 (100-149 Posts)
Pencil 3 (100-149 Posts)
 
Posts: 116
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:15 pm
Location: Australia

Postby philippa » Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:52 am

That was wonderfully clear --I have been struggling with those 'to capitalise or not to capitalise' in dialogue forever. Thank you both. Now to remember. P

User avatar
philippa
Pencil 3 (100-149 Posts)
Pencil 3 (100-149 Posts)
 
Posts: 116
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:15 pm
Location: Australia

Postby philippa » Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:14 am

Now homework:

"Aw Mar, give me a break," said Jake. "Noone does their homework on a Friday night."
"You do Son, especially when you are playing football all day Saturday and Sunday."
"It's probably gonna," Jake threw up his hands for emphasis, "pour rain".
"Get going!"

User avatar
yvonne
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
 
Posts: 937
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2007 11:50 am
Location: Searsport, Maine

Postby yvonne » Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:56 am

I love dialogue! (sorry...had to use that EP)
You're doing a great job with these classes, Jan.

Here's part of a story I wrote of someone with a stroke.

“Time for your pill, Mary Dear.” He helps her sit straighter in her wheelchair and adjusts a pillow behind her left shoulder. “I hope the tea isn’t too hot.”

With a towel under her chin and a teacup in his gnarled fingers, he slowly, gently gives her a sip and wipes the corner of her mouth. The clock ticks away the minutes as he takes a sip from his cup and gives her one.

“The leaves are starting to turn red already. It will be winter soon.”

She twists her neck toward the window. “Un-n-n.”

“The pastor’s wife brought some banana bread. She’s such a thoughtful woman. Would you like some with your tea?”

“Un-o-oh” Mary jerks her head and knocks the cup from his hand, sending it shattering across the linoleum floor. “O-o-oh!”

“Don’t worry about that. It was almost empty anyway.”
...
Carefully, he lifts her small frame onto the cotton sheets and tucks her in. He brushes the droplets from his balding head with his shirtsleeve and readies the house for the night.

Finally, with a sigh, he lies down beside her and turns to see her clouded blue eyes watching him.

“Unh –uv-oo.”

He kisses her forehead and whispers, “I love you too, Mary Dear, and I always will.”


I'm still struggling with how to write a whisper without using the word. I can show a shout, but it's hard to show a whisper.

Sometimes, I try to write a whole story with only dialogue and no tags, but you're getting to that next week.

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6053
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Postby glorybee » Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:23 am

philippa wrote:"Aw Mar, give me a break," said Jake. "No one does their homework on a Friday night."

"You do, Son, especially when you are playing football all day Saturday and Sunday."

"Yeah, but," Jake threw up his hands for emphasis, "it's probably gonna pour rain".

"Get going!"


Philippa, superb job with the punctuation and capitalization. I wouldn't change any of the content, either--I understod and could easily imagine both of your characters. My small changes:

1. This might be a UK/USA thing--but 'no one' (at least in the US) is two words.

2. Add a comma before a person's name (or nickname) when you are directly addressing them (this is covered in Ann's grammar class).

3. When you interrupt a person's speech with a dialog tag, be sure that you do it in a natural-sounding place. Again, this might be due to different rhythyms of Aussie and American speech--if so, ignore. But I think your third sentence sounds better now. By the way, this is a good technique for adding sentences with a variety of structure.

4. This one is MOST important--you really need an entire blank line between every person's dialog.

Thanks for being so steady with your homework, Philippa!
Jan Ackerson

PreviousNext

Return to Jan's Writing Basics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


© MeasurelessMedia. All rights reservedTerms of Service



Jesus - True for You But not for Me      Website Builder     Build Website     Is Jesus God?    
Does God exist?     Build a writers website     Does truth exist?     Website online in minutes