Monthly Archives: April 2011
Dialogue Part 3
As You Know Bobs
One common problem with dialogue is the ‘As You Know Bob’ syndrome. Beginning (and sometimes not-so-beginning) writers have all this knowledge of the story in their head. And this information needs to be given to the reader so things make sense.
Unfortunately, sometimes this trap jumps right up and captures us.
“Hey Bob, how’s it going?” Joe asked, sitting at the table.
Bob nodded as he continued to endlessly stir his coffee.
“So Bob, you know Jesse, your cousin who got married last year? She’s coming to town with her new husband who’s a tax accountant. They have their two kids, Billy and Sally. And they might even be bringing that dog you gave them, Old Blue.”
Now, if you knew Bob, would you ever sit down and start telling him details like this about people he already knows? Bob would be looking at you like you’re crazy. In fact, his response my go like this:
Bob glanced up. “Joe, what’s wrong with you? I already know all that about my cousin and her family. Why are you telling me?”
Another common problem with dialogue is repetition. If something is said in dialogue, it doesn’t then have to be shown in exposition (and visa-versa)
Tony nodded sharply. “We’ll go around the rocks, check for any traps.”
Sally patted her horse’s neck. “And after the bridge?”
“We’ll just have to see.”
Tony and Sally spurred their horses into a gallop, racing down the trail. They reached the boulders and checked for any traps. There were none. The two riders continued down the trail to the river, and the bridge. Then they crossed.
“Now what?” Sally asked.
Tony scratched his chin thoughtfully. “Well, let’s head to the town. Dr. Evans might be in. Then we can take him back to the farm to look old Joe over.”
Tony and Sally rode on, over the bridge and reached the town. They dismounted in front of Dr. Evan’s house, tied the reins to the post and went in to see if the doctor was available.
Sally stopped inside the door. “Doctor? Are you here? We need some help back at the farm.”
Readers are smart. They can figure out what’s going on with just subtle hints. If they are reading a story, and the author keeps repeating the same information again and again, most readers are going to get bored and stop reading.
I love easter. Not only because my family spends time together making easter eggs, and cooking a yummy ham dinner, but also…
Hiding the Eggs!
We usually go to the park with kites, and bubbles.
By bedtime, we’re all tired and happy.
So today, that’s what I’m wishing ya’ll.
A Happy, tiring, but family and love filled Easter.
(With lots, and lots, and lots of chocolate, my second favorite part of Easter
Welcome author and fellow Plot Mama Danielle Monsch : )
She graciously agreed to one of my interviews, the brave woman. Plus, we get a sneak peak of her newest release, Loving a Fairy Godmother.
Out Now, Available at http://bit.ly/Dani_LFG
What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
I’m an otaku, which is another way of saying I’m a very geeky person very into Japanese cartoons, comic books, movies and music. If I’m not writing and have time away from the family, I’m delving into this world. Miyazaki is god and one day, I really will learn to speak Japanese.
What would you do with $1 million dollars (tax-free, of course)?
I’m very boring and practical I’m afraid. House would get paid off, kids college funds would be fully funded, large chunks would go into retirement investments. The only slightly impractical use would be a yearly vacation. Hubby and I both enjoy travelling, and that kind of money would fund several first-class travel adventures.
If you could be any supernatural creature, what would it be and why?
My first love was vampires when I was younger, and while I may not have the all-consuming obsession I used to have with them, vampires would still be my answer today. Even the negatives wouldn’t be that bad for me. Anyone who has seen my paleness in pictures can tell I don’t do much time in the sun.
What is your favorite book? Why?
I won’t say favorite, but the book that has had the most lasting impact on me would be ‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott. Partly this is due to the timing of me reading it, that area just on the cusp of pubescence where lots of things are getting churned up in the brain, but that book has had a lasting impact on my psyche. I’m sure I’m not the only girl that feels that way though. Just mention Beth dying in a group of women, see how many start tearing up.
What’s your favorite comfort food?
Pumpkin pie. My mom makes the world’s most delicious pumpkin pie, it’s a lot spicier (nutmeg spicy, not curry spicy) than the store bought stuff, and she has a real gift for making flaky crust. She only ever made pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas though, never any other time of the year, no matter how much we begged. As soon as Halloween hit, my siblings and I would start counting down the days until it was time for pie.
If you could time-travel, where would you go and why?
I’m really not a time traveller. I like indoor plumbing, pain medicine, and air conditioning too much to ever give them up. It’s not that I don’t enjoy learning about history, but actually going back to experience the stink? Blech!
Why are manhole covers round?
Asking questions like this, have you ever thought of starting up your own cult? I guarantee more money than in writing.
Do you have any upcoming news you’d like to share?
I just sold my second short story to Ellora’s Cave. It is a naughty story entitled ‘Pleasure Satellite’, release date TBD.
And the Fast Five:
Coffee or Chocolate?
Chocolate – was there ever a doubt?
Jewelry: Precious gems or gold?
Precious gems, I love color
Beach or Mountains?
Mountains. Hubby is a beach person. Somehow we remain married
Early Morning or Late Night?
Naturally late night, but as a mom I’m forced to be early morning
Fruit or Veggies?
Can I answer chocolate?
Yes dear, you certainly can
Loving a Fairy Godmother
Tiernan is one of a kind. Beyond the divine dimples, killer blue eyes, and hard muscled body, Tiernan is also the only Fairy Godfather. Most of the Fairy Godmothers have no problem with keeping Tiernan around, but Reina isn’t like most Fairy Godmothers.
Amongst Fairy Godmothers, Reina is the best. Organized, efficient, logical. So why is it when Tiernan is around, all those qualities fly out the window? Reina doesn’t like that one infuriating male makes her lose control, and just wants him gone. Circumstances arise that just might let her get her wish, though not in a way she ever wanted.
Tiernan is given an assignment and told either get a Happily Ever After or he will no longer be a Fairy Godfather. Reina is going with him to supervise, but if Tiernan gets his way, he’ll not only be supervising that luscious stubborn fairy in bed, but also get her to admit Happily Ever Afters also apply to Fairy Godmothers.
Out Now, Available at http://bit.ly/Dani_LFG
“You can just call me Tiernan,” he interrupted.
She tried again. “Godfather Tiernan—”
“Didn’t Sara just tell you that you had to follow my directions?”
That pushed her over the edge. “Do you truly think you are going to secure a HEA when you haven’t been able to do it yet?”
He let out a derisive snort, but immediately realized that was a huge mistake. Her face lost her usual look of annoyance crossed with bemused tolerance, leaving pure ice in its place. “This is why men should not be allowed into the Godmother program. None of you have any respect for Happily Ever Afters.”
“I never said I didn’t believe in HEAs” he began, but she cut him off.
“Every case you’ve been on tells me you don’t believe, or else you would have tried once, just once, to get one!”
His hands slammed on the table as he leaned across it, his face coming inches from hers. “I’ve never tried because I believe in love! Humans need love so much, who the hell was I to screw up two people in love to get them to HEA status? I could never forgive myself if two people in love missed out on each other because of my actions!”
All anger fled her face, and a hesitant, unsure look came over features. “What do you think a HEA is?”
He drew in a deep breath, sitting down once again. “I think happily ever after is a nice way to end a story, but in the world I remember, it’s a waste.”
Her hand was halfway towards him before she seemed to remember their roles, and she pulled it back to her side. “Love is wonderful, but only love alone is incomplete. You can love someone, but they can ultimately not be right for you. Even in love, people can still be led to believe the worst of each other, still hurt each other, still decide they are better without the other,” she began, her words hesitant, as if she was trying to define to herself what it all meant as much as to him. “But the Happily Ever After is so much more. It’s finding your perfect match, love purified, refined, to such an extent that it can never be sundered. With a Happily Ever After, men can achieve greatness, as can all the generations who follow growing up in its shadow.”
“And you think jeopardizing the surety of a love match now is worth it for only the possibility of a Happily Ever After?” he asked, his voice gentle, reverent, wanting nothing to break this intimacy their words were creating.
“I do. In your view, maybe that seems cruel, but in my view, there is no greater tragedy then two people who almost make this connection but fall short in the end.”
Such a hard exterior to cover such a tender heart. “I’m not sure if I can believe as you do,” he said after considering her words. “But I never want Sara… you… to feel as if I let you down. After we get this situation behind us, I want you proud of the job I do.”
And as his breath caught at the rare smile she bestowed upon him just then, he knew all she had to do was keep smiling at him like that, and anything she wanted, whether it be his beliefs or his blood, he would give her.
Her smile faded, and the moment ended. Reina cloaked herself in her position of authority as she handed him the file that had been sitting on her desk. It was already open to show a picture of a blond girl, pretty and vibrant with a mouth full of straight white teeth, all of which was evident even underneath the dirt. “I looked over this case earlier, before I realized what was going on,” she said. “It is a good, solid HEA case. There are several challenges to overcome, but also several sources of help for the client. It is about as perfect as a case can be for this purpose, as evenly balanced as I’ve ever seen. No one can accuse the council of favoring either side. The girl’s name is Cinderella. She lives with an abusive Stepmother and two rotten spoiled stepsisters. She is a very kind, generous girl—though a little too much of a doormat, if you ask me—but outside of that, not really any other character flaws. She is much beloved in her village, children and small animals flock to her daily. In short, we exist to give HEAs to mortals like her.”
Tiernan read the file quickly, then flipped the page and took in the photo of the male who would supply the HEA. “A prince, huh? That’s pretty standard.”
“Indeed, but for the most part, we don’t mess with the classics here.” The pointed look she gave him told him he was one of the exceptions, and she wasn’t necessarily thrilled about it. Ah yes, completely back to normal.
He returned that look with a flirty smile. “I used to serve royalty, Godmother Reina. Believe me when I say, sometimes the large crown is to compensate for something.”
“Oh really? Well, I assume we can say the same thing about your sword, eh, knight?”
Maybe not completely back to normal after all. The second those words passed her lips her eyes went saucer wide, and Tiernan couldn’t say who was more shocked, him or Reina herself. There was no way he was letting this pass. His voice coming out a low growl, he replied, “Why, Reina, I never knew you were interested in the size of my sword. Anytime you want a private viewing, I will be more than happy to oblige.”
Out Now, Available at http://bit.ly/Dani_LFG
Danielle Monsch is a Romantic Geek Girl Writing in a Fantasy World. Born to the pothole laden streets of Pittsburgh Pa, she now resides in the Pacific Northwest, where they tell her that the sun will eventually be seen, but she really doesn’t believe them. She has two beautiful kids who do everything in their power to make sure she doesn’t make her daily word count, and a hubby who is her greatest cheerleader as well as her tech support.
And last, but not least, where can we find you on the internet:
www.castlesandguns.com – group blog I’m part of focused on Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, and Paranormal
www.plotmamas.com – group blog I’m part of on the joy and strain of mixing motherhood and writing
Thanks to everyone for coming out and sharing your pet peeves on Sunday when Cassandra Carr was here playing.
The winner of a copy of her e-book is Stephanie
Talk To Me Out Now
BUY LINK: http://www.loose-id.com/Talk-to-Me.aspx
Please email me at AmberKallyn (@) gmail (dot) com with your contact information and I’ll forward it to the lovely Cassandra Carr
For information on Boring Dialogue, see Part 1
Not only does Dialogue need to serve multiple purposes, it has specific punctuation rules.
All spoken dialogue has double quotes around it.
“She never told me,” he whispered.
Because we are using a dialogue tag (he said), a comma goes inside the quote and the tag is NOT capitalized.
“Why didn’t she tell me?” he asked.
We’re still using a dialogue tag, even though it’s a question. The tag remains lower case.
“She never told me.” He waved towards the balcony doors.
By using a movement tag, the exchange becomes two different sentences. The dialogue ends with a period inside the quotes, and the movement tag IS capitalized.
“But,” he said, “she never told me.”
Using a beat to break up the dialogue is punctuated by a comma inside the first set of quotes, the beat is NOT capitalized and also ends with a comma, and then the continuation of dialogue is NOT capitalized.
“But she never told me.” John spun from the others, staring blankly out the open balcony door. “How could she not have told me?”
By using a movement tag between sentences of dialogue, the same rules of any movement tag are followed. Each sentence is its own, and punctuated with periods and capitals.
A Quote within a Quote
“So, then Sally said, ‘Those Garrison’s are too tall.’ We all laughed at her surprise,” Billy said.
When quoting inside dialogue, single quotation marks are used.
The last part of punctuation is paragraphing. When a new person speaks, they always do so in a new paragraph.
“And then, the dam broke.” Jesse’s eyes grew wider. “The water, frothy white with trees and boulders tumbling down the ridge right along with it, seemed like it would never stop.”
“Whoa. What did the town do?” Sally asked.
“We ran. What else?” Joe said, his voice deep and booming.
“How far did you run?” Sally spread her hands wide as if she could measure the distance of the town’s flight between her fingers.
“Far,” Jesse stated. “As far as we could.”
I shared this picture at my last TRS (The Romance Studion) release party the other week.
I HAVE to share it again.
When I found this picture, I almost licked my laptop screen. I’ve been in love with this man since the mid 90′s, when he was Angel.
Then, a while back, I found him on my TV again in a kickin’ show as FBI Agent Booth.
But this picture… OMG.
Can I jump in that bathtub, right now?
I just wanna lick this man dry. And then tie him up in bed.
For a few years.
Don’t worry. I’ll make sure to feed him, while he’s making me happy, LOL.
***That is not my drool you see reflected on your computer moniter. I swear. Honest.***
Such a great review. 4.5 Diamonds from Got Erotic Romance : )
“This fiery novella was full of intense adventure and even more intense passion. Bree is a fascinating heroine and I enjoyed finding out about her past and her unique abilities. Our sexy bounty hunter dragon shifter is too hot for most women to handle but Bree turns up the heat and almost singes this hottie.”
Thank you GTR for the great review. I’m so happy you liked the book, and the story of Bree and Ty and how they fall in love : )
It’s important to any story — short, long, novel, you name it.
In fiction, the purpose of dialogue serves multiple purposes.
It should convey information to the reader.
It should reveal character.
It should move the story forward.
The key is to make dialogue sound natural, convey information subtly, and not be boring.
Would you like to open a book, or read a short story, and see the following?
“Hi, Mary,” Joe said.
“Hi, Joe,” Mary replied.
“How is your day?” Joe asked.
“Oh, okay, I guess.”
“Nice weather we’re having.” Joe glanced up at the crystalline blue sky.
Mary nodded. “Yeah. But it might be nice if it rained.”
“So, Joe. How’s your mom?” Mary scuffled her toe in the dry dirt.
“She’s feeling better,” Joe replied. “And your parents?”
I could go on, but my eyes are already glazed over. While the conversation above is something you might hear in real life, it doesn’t exactly make for good reading. ‘Real Life’ doesn’t always readily apply to fiction.
Remember, it’s okay to skip the boring parts. And remember, the purpose of dialogue is to move the story forward. If two characters are talking about mundane things, does it push the story, or does it make the reader’s eyes glaze over?
And as with any writing, the #1 way to find out if your writing flows naturally is to Read it Out Loud.
Come back for Dialogue Part 2 – Punctuation