Six impossible things

Posts Tagged dialog

Tin Ear

One of the worst criticisms that can be leveled at an author is “He has a tin ear for dialog.” In short form, it means the writer in question doesn’t do dialog well; in the longer version, it means the writer has no sense of the rhythms […]

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Idioms and catchphrases

One of the many areas that some writers find problematic about dialog is the use of idioms. This is especially tricky for SF and fantasy writers who are trying to create a realistic-sounding but still-comprehensible imaginary world. The first common mistake, especially for science fiction writers, is […]

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Dialog in general

…“and what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?” -Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Dialog occupies an odd place on the list of fundamental fiction-writing skills. It’s a component of nearly all fiction, but it’s not absolutely necessary (Hatchet and My […]

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How they say it

One of the things it took me a while to get a handle on was giving my characters different speech patterns, depending on both their personalities and their backgrounds. For my first couple of books, I was too busy juggling all the other stuff – background, plot, […]

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Beats Now and Then

“Beat” is actually an acting term. In a movie or play, it describes a brief interruption or pause in the action or dialog. The result of putting a beat in can change the emphasis on a line of dialog or the meaning of an action, and do […]

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Tag, You’re It

Yesterday, while bemoaning my lack of blog post topics to my walking buddy over our post-walk stop at the coffee shop (she gets coffee; I get tea), I had a revelation. (OK, not a big heavenly-choirs, life-changing sort of revelation, just a tiny hey-I-can-turn-that-into-a-blog-post revelation, but I’ll […]

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When I first started writing, I didn’t pay too much attention to the way people spoke. I figured I was lucky to get my characters to sound as if they were holding a real conversation, rather than reading alternate paragraphs from an 18th century tome on rhetorical […]

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Say That Again, Would You?

Dialog is one of the bedrock necessities in about 99% of all fiction. Plays and screenplays are almost nothing but dialog, and it’s not unusual to see whole scenes or entire short stories that are told entirely in dialog (sometimes, without even speech tags to let the […]

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Dialog is the primary way most of us communicate with each other, so it’s also the main way our characters communicate with each other. It’s really hard to write a satisfactory short story that has no dialogue at all, and the longer this story, the harder it is […]

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First person, part the first

As I’ve said before, the term “viewpoint” gets used to mean both the person who is seeing the action (viewpoint character) and the way in which everything is written (viewpoint type). This is going to be about the latter sort of viewpoint. Specifically, it’s about first-person. First-person […]

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