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Posted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:30 pm
I was one of those journalism students taught to not use "said". thanks so much for that info! I've been watching that in all my reading lately and can't believe I never noticed that before - how much it is used, and by the top selling christian fiction authors, too!
To ask a question? I was wondering about something I've noticed alot in reading my favorite Christian fiction top sellers. In the midst of dialogue these will put in a really insignificant sentence, like a "so?" Its not a particular writer's style, I see it alot For example:
"Are you really certain, Miss Pointer, that the lady made a call from this phone?"
Yelda took a sip of tea. "Yes, quite sure."
Marvin stared at Muriel and blinked. "Where did you leave the journal?"
Muriel nibbled her celery thoughtfully. "I'm not at all sure."
Posted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:42 pm
Honeyrock, I'll answer your question by referring you to this lesson
about writing dialog. Look especially at my point #5 (toward the end of the lesson). I think that's what you're referring to--if not, let me know.
I'll also send you on another wild good chase--to this lesson
, to the "Quick Take" in bold.
If I were feeling really spunky, I'd send you on a scavenger hunt through all of the lessons: What's the third word in the fourteenth line of lesson 6? That sort of thing...but I guess I've done enough for now...
Posted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:05 pm
I'm actually wondering not about the placement of dialogue, but the content of what you place with it when its truly insignificant. I've noticed it alot lately -seemingly insignificant action in - a very short sentence in with the dialogue.
"I thought I answered your question." Adelaide replied, watching Mr. Jones terrer trot by.
Posted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:35 pm
Ahhh, I see.
I think writers use the little action snippet as a way of avoiding "said" or its alternatives. It lets the reader know who's speaking--the same person who's acting.
As far as the relevance of the action--sometimes those little phrases can be used as an aid to characterization:
"How you doin', ma'am?" Gomer scratched his belly and stared, bug-eyed.
Here, the action tells me that despite his polite words, Gomer is an oaf.
And sometimes they can move the plot along, just a teensy bit:
Patrice fingered a wax-sealed linen envelope. "James, what do you know about your grandfather?"
Or, the action tags might contribute a bit to the atmosphere of the story:
"I'm getting something from the basement." Jennica plodded down the shadowed stairway.
This can be a really effective way of writing dialog, in my opinion. What do you think?
Posted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:30 pm
Okay, now I feel better. I wasn't getting it when they didn't add to characterization, etc. but that makes sense, they move the story along, even a little. I really like that technique used in all the ways you describe.