Thursday, May 17, 2012

He Said, She Said, Who Said What?

As you can probably tell, today I am talking about that thing we all shy away from - Dialogue.

What makes excellent dialogue? Well, many things do. First and foremost is the genuine accents and use of words. Let's explore that first, mkay?

Teenagers speak very differently from most adults. Unless your character is a grown woman who is trying very hard to fit in with a group of youngsters, she probably won't be using the words 'dude' or 'awesome' very often. Vernacular is also region specific. If a teen is from California, they will speak very differently than a teen from Louisiana.

Time for examples:

Heather is a teen from California having a conversation with a surfer on the beach.

"Catch a wave, Babe!" said Heather from the comfort of her towel on the sand.
When the surfer walked by, Heather's heart skipped a beat. He was gorgeous and she didn't know how else to break the ice.
"Tubular!" he said, waving.
Heather couldn't help herself and blurted out, "Is that like, pineapple sex wax I smell?"
"Hell yeah it is! Nothin' less than the best for my baby. That's like, pure ZOGS right there! You gonna ride the water today?"
"No. Not today. I'm like, feelin' bummy, you know?" Heather hated the ocean and was terrified of sharks but she didn't want him to know that.

June is a teen from Louisiana having a conversation with a surfer on the beach.

"Hey, nice surfboard!" said June from the comfort of her towel on the sand.
When the surfer walked by, June's heart skipped a beat. He was gorgeous and she didn't know how else to break the ice.
"Tubular!" he said, waving.
 June couldn't help herself and blurted out, "Come see! I wanna look at that board! What's 'tubular' mean?"
"Tubular. You know, like, in the tube? The water, Lady. The wave, you know? You gonna ride the water today?"
"Oh. No. Not today. I wanna lay here and get some sun, che." June hated the ocean and was terrified of sharks but she didn't want him to know that.

Now, from the first set of dialogue, you garner that the two understand one another and believe Heather is from California because of her easy way of speaking to the surfer. June is a little more awkward and doesn't seem to fit in. We know she's from somewhere else.

Let's do it again without the slang and see the results.

"Hey, nice surfboard!" said Marsha from the comfort of her towel on the sand.
When the surfer walked by, Marsha's heart skipped a beat. He was gorgeous and she didn't know how else to break the ice.
"Thanks!" he said, waving.
Marsha couldn't help herself and blurted out, "Can I see it?"
"Sure. I'm hoping to have a good time in the water today. Are you planning to surf at all?"
"No. Not today. I'm just laying in the sun today." Marsha hated the ocean and was terrified of sharks but she didn't want him to know that.

Not nearly as interesting, right?

Something else you can learn from the dialogue above is that it's not necessary to follow every line with he said, she said, or they said. You can communicate exactly who is speaking without dragging your reader down with unnecessary words. So you want your word count to be higher? Add chapters or paragraphs.

Remember that he, she, and they, refer to the last person named in the text. Mention the name often enough so your reader doesn't get confused (psssst, readers actually don't mind this).

That's all for today, folks. Remember to keep your eyes open for the release of Yassa on June 4, 2012!

If you haven't picked up your copy of The Abigale Chronicles - Book One, you should!! Free sampling at Smashwords and purchase for just $1.99!

Until next time, WRITE ON!!

Jo

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