Friday, September 07, 2012
I'll start with definitions today, so we're all on the same page:
Dialogue – A conversation between characters in a narrative. It can and should include thoughts, emotions, actions, gestures, facial expressions and more in addition to speech.
Dialogue tag - A noun or pronoun identifying the person speaking and a speech action verb (said, asked, replied, shouted, etc.). Also called an attribution or identifier. It should always be written with the noun first and verb second.
Talking Heads – When a passage of dialogue contains just speech ping-ponging back and forth between characters and not much else.
Informational Dialogue – When two characters who already know something still tell each other about it, as a clumsy device to give the reader the information.
“As you know, Betsy, our mother is sixty-four.”
“Yes, and our brother Bill was born three years after I was.”
Direct Address – When one character calls another one by name within the dialogue.
Salt and Pepper – The boring bits of dialogue that we use in everyday life, such as “Hello, how are you?” or “Please pass the salt and pepper.” that should be left out of fiction dialogue.
Business – The narrative, thoughts, gestures, actions, facial expressions, and so on that flavor dialogue, giving it emotional context and revealing the characters’ motives and conflicts in more depth than words alone can convey.
That's it for today! Tune in next week for some how-tos on Mechanics, the nitty gritty little details of writing dialogue.