2015-09-21 W.E. How Does Context Shape Dialog?

Get on here each week to share in a writing assignment that will help you grow in your writing knowledge. These are meant to be fairly short.
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JL Zenor
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2015-09-21 W.E. How Does Context Shape Dialog?

Post by JL Zenor » Mon Sep 21, 2015 2:16 pm

I wanted to start doing something as a group weekly. But getting together every week is a lot to ask. So I decided that doing something together on the forums that increases our writing knowledge would be a great way to learn together as a group, while being free form enough that you can do it on your own time.

So here's the deal. Go to the Writing Excuses podcast and listen to this week's episode, and then just share your comments with the rest of us. Did you learn something from this? How do you think it can be applied?

You don't have to do the homework assignment they give in the episode, however if you decide to do it, share it with us.
Hugh Howey wrote:In everything you do as an author, work harder than anyone else around you. Want it more than you want anything else in life. Even if fortune doesn’t favor you, you’ll have zero regrets, and you’ll create something you’re proud of.
Check out my books: Rite of Passage

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JL Zenor
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Re: 2015-09-21 W.E. How Does Context Shape Dialog?

Post by JL Zenor » Sun Sep 27, 2015 6:14 pm

It's funny that Lena and I discussed some of this last weekend on our way to the hockey game, about not having a "beat" every line. Having them is important for context, but you don't want it constantly. Sanderson saying to use a beat every 5 or so lines helps keep the reader in the scene.

The difficult thing I need to learn from this is about the "on the nose" dialog. Trying to think about how the characters would talk without saying exactly what is on their mind is tough. Mary said to keep in mind why the character is saying that, and what it is achieving to us, the authors.

What did you guys get out of this?
Hugh Howey wrote:In everything you do as an author, work harder than anyone else around you. Want it more than you want anything else in life. Even if fortune doesn’t favor you, you’ll have zero regrets, and you’ll create something you’re proud of.
Check out my books: Rite of Passage

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Re: 2015-09-21 W.E. How Does Context Shape Dialog?

Post by Lena » Sun Sep 27, 2015 9:13 pm

I like how Mary said using beats when you need to emphasize something. Having 'she said' a lot can get repetitive, and throwing in something once in a while to bring the reader back to the story and/or the setting, I think, is a good idea.

I also agree that dialogue should reflect the character, either in dialect, or just in personality. Some characters are chatty, some will only say what's necessary and no more. That keep things interesting, and keeps the dialogue relevant to the story by keeping the character alive through their personality.
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Re: 2015-09-21 W.E. How Does Context Shape Dialog?

Post by JL Zenor » Sun Sep 27, 2015 10:54 pm

Lena wrote:I also agree that dialogue should reflect the character, either in dialect, or just in personality. Some characters are chatty, some will only say what's necessary and no more. That keep things interesting, and keeps the dialogue relevant to the story by keeping the character alive through their personality.
Great, something else to figure out about my characters before I write. How chatty will they be and how will they speak that sets them apart from others? So much to do! :o
Hugh Howey wrote:In everything you do as an author, work harder than anyone else around you. Want it more than you want anything else in life. Even if fortune doesn’t favor you, you’ll have zero regrets, and you’ll create something you’re proud of.
Check out my books: Rite of Passage

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Re: 2015-09-21 W.E. How Does Context Shape Dialog?

Post by RonfarZ3 » Sat Oct 03, 2015 4:33 am

I'm pretty bad at dialogue, I'll just admit it.
Almost every line I have includes a "beat" and I rarely just let the characters talk back and forth. Of course, I think the reason for this is I usually have three or more characters discussing something at any one time, so I need to add the beats to identify who is speaking because most of my characters don't have a lot of "verbal indicators". Or it could be that most of my editors can't figure out who is talking, even when it's a back and forth. Or it could be that most of my dialogue is during scenes where I want to reveal visual information as well.
Essentially, I hate when people talk, and it shows when I try to write them in dialogue.
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