Christopher Moore Home Page

The bulletin board is currently closed to new posts. Instead, why not check out Chris' Twitter and Facebook pages?


bbs.chrismoore.com Forum Index -> So You Wanna Be a Writer?

Oodles of Dialog

  Author    Thread This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics. This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.
Goudron



Joined: 03 Aug 2004
Posts: 2570
Location: near Cleveland OH
Oodles of Dialog  Reply with quote  

I once read that a good novel does not consist of conversations between your friends. I find I spend more time writing dialog than narration though, and not because I'm hung up on thinking up dialog.

The characters talking don't resemble any friends, but they become my friends...... No, I'm going off on a tangent there. What I'm trying to find out is whether there can be too much dialog. The story's moving forward, I'm not sure of the pace, but I don't think it's especially slow. Any rules of thumb to follow?

Maybe the problem I'm sensing is less about too much dialog and more about not spending enough time to describe events in narration. It seems as though narrated action passes by too quickly, but conversations are meatier.
_________________
White and feathery, yet crude and noisy, the chicken is the backbone of our farming community.

Post Mon Sep 13, 2004 7:07 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
chris
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
 Reply with quote  

As long as the dialog is accomplishing something besides people just talking then you're fine. Each scene should accomplish something, dialogue is part of the scene.

Don't just write people talking to fill up pages. Go ahead and finish the scene, then see if the dialogue can be pared down and the scene still achieve it's goal. If you do your character work, your people will talk all day long. It's your job to shut them up so they can get on with the story.

Post Mon Sep 13, 2004 8:43 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
XanderesqueMan
Guest




Words are a friend of mine.  Reply with quote  

I love to use them. I think it's pretty much a necessity for a writer. And it's not a bad thing. But something I find that I'm often critisized on as far as excessive wording is that I use a lot of dialogue and a lot of description.

I agree, that in some cases it's simply more appropriate to cut out flowery prose and in depth analysis of your characters appearance and what this may or may not say about them. But I don't always know where to draw the line. Or if I'm drawing the line too early sometimes. That is, if I'm now providing too little information, instead of too much. It's a whole big thing.

As far as dialogue, I'm always complimented on it, for it's wittiness or well chosen phrasing, etc. But when I ask some of the more "stylistically" criticisizing friends of mine (those who look at the story more analytically then emotionally), I find that I often receive the same offerings of input. Too much dialogue, too little action. I naturally write this way, and I find that I have to keep a close eye on myself, red pen and whip in hand, to make sure that I restrict the flow of give and take between characters.

I think the flaw that I have here is that I become too involved with my characters and who they are, what they would say, and on some level I'm no longer telling a story so much as I'm watching people walk through their lives, just being themselves. Which is not a good thing, and is too be avoided. Unfortunately, I have a tough time judging this myself, between my involvement with my characters and Owen, the Gremlin of Self Doubt who so often sits on my shoulder, and his whispered assurances that I'm screwing up once more.

I've posted an excerpt in the FanFiction area. I'm hoping those of my fellow BBSers who are also writers won't mind letting me know what they think.

Cheers,
Ryan

Post Fri Sep 24, 2004 3:56 pm   
chris
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
 Reply with quote  

Ryan:

You really don't want to be watching your people go through their lives unless stuff is happening to them. No matter how good the dialog, it's not going to wash with the reader. You want to be more Resident Evil and less The Sims. You leave out going to the bathroom, showering every morning, eating, getting to and from work, etc. unless it has something important to the story. Only write the drama. The rest is assumed.

There' s no rule about the amount of dialog or description, but if the story isn't moving, you need to move it. Perhaps in the context of dialog.

People tend to stand still when they talk. It's easy to write about things that are standing still. They are easy to describe because, well, they are standing still. Often times writers will concentrate on these set pieces because it's much more difficult to write things that are moving. (This doesn't always mean physical movement or action, sometimes we are talking about revelation of the story, which is, in it's way, movement, and which is a valid job for dialog.)

No one can tell you if the dialog is too much or if the narrative is too much. If it's working, it's just enough. If not, it's too much. Pick up books that work for you. Look at the balance of dialog, description, narrative. Is it close to yours? Is there anything like yours out there anywhere (I mean in structure, not plot or ideas)? If not, you have more work to do. And you know what, that's okay. You have to write to get better at writing. The only thing I have on most of you guys is I've written more books. I don't have any education or special insight, I've just done it more.

Post Fri Sep 24, 2004 6:05 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Lauren



Joined: 07 Mar 2004
Posts: 1582
Location: Massachusetts
 Reply with quote  

Quote:
From Chris:You want to be more Resident Evil and less The Sims.


Unless it's that Hot Date expansion pack where the Sims have hot tubs and do naughty things with one another. There are whole sections in bookstores devoted to that sort of thing.

(sorry, couldn't resist) Twisted Evil
_________________
Well, I guess you left me with some feathers in my hand.

Post Fri Sep 24, 2004 7:34 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address ICQ Number
Guest





Thanks, Chris.  Reply with quote  

I really appreciate the input. And go figure, you were humble too. lol

It's okay, Lauren. We understand. So, anything in particular on your mind?...And where might I be able to find this Hot Date Expansion Pack?...No reason... Rolling Eyes

Cheers,
Ryan

Post Fri Sep 24, 2004 8:47 pm   
Levi bar Alpheous



Joined: 04 Nov 2004
Posts: 4
Location: Wisconsin
 Reply with quote  

i am new here but i know of Chris's work....i am an aspiring writer too and have always had a fancy to write a parody......

my problem lies in editing my own work.....i will write 10 paragraphs....go back...reread....edit the hell out of it to make the storyline flow better but then my original humor seems to lose the spontaneous hilarity.......

btw.......i have a friend who was mid way into writing a book he was going to entitle - "Jesus of Nashville".....then Lamb came out.......HAHAHAHA.......Chris......you beat him to the punch.........
_________________
RUMI! YOU LIVE IN A FUCKING PIT!

Post Thu Nov 04, 2004 11:32 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
chris
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
 Reply with quote  

Levi bar Alpheous wrote:
i am new here but i know of Chris's work....i am an aspiring writer too and have always had a fancy to write a parody......

my problem lies in editing my own work.....i will write 10 paragraphs....go back...reread....edit the hell out of it to make the storyline flow better but then my original humor seems to lose the spontaneous hilarity.......

btw.......i have a friend who was mid way into writing a book he was going to entitle - "Jesus of Nashville".....then Lamb came out.......HAHAHAHA.......Chris......you beat him to the punch.........


We've talked about this a lot in here, Levi. My advice is not to rewrite until you have a full, first draft done. You're right, humor happens spontaneously on the page as you write. You can't really craft that. You can sharpen the comic timing and the phrasing later, but finish your story or your book, then go back and edit. It's a lot easier to cut a few paragraphs when you have 300 pages than when you have 2.

Post Fri Nov 05, 2004 4:14 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Levi bar Alpheous



Joined: 04 Nov 2004
Posts: 4
Location: Wisconsin
 Reply with quote  

ok Chris.......i will do that.......thanks.......and i had to change my name so you will recognize it from the ton of emails i have sent....
_________________
RUMI! YOU LIVE IN A FUCKING PIT!

Post Tue Nov 09, 2004 3:21 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Levi bar Alpheous



Joined: 04 Nov 2004
Posts: 4
Location: Wisconsin
 Reply with quote  

shit......the name did not change...........damnit
_________________
RUMI! YOU LIVE IN A FUCKING PIT!

Post Tue Nov 09, 2004 3:22 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
metaldementia



Joined: 09 Nov 2004
Posts: 2
 Reply with quote  

there we go........i had to reregister.......
_________________
A haldol a day keeps those freakin' voices away.

Post Tue Nov 09, 2004 3:31 am   View user's profile Send private message
metaldementia



Joined: 09 Nov 2004
Posts: 2
 Reply with quote  

i personally have not read many books that are so dominated by dialog as is Lamb. That is what makes that book so funny. Biff's continuous smartassed comments. Josh's words. And let us not forget Biff's thoughts which are entirely dialog.....well.......nearly.......

the story i have had in mind since becoming a psych nurse is going to need to have "oodles of dialog"....it will be needed to make non - medical people aware of the intended humor.

my only problem is......i have so much to write about......i am still entertaining the ideas of WHAT character is going to be the star.......i have so many psycho combinations that it makes it hard to choose........LOLOL
_________________
A haldol a day keeps those freakin' voices away.

Post Tue Nov 09, 2004 3:53 am   View user's profile Send private message
  Display posts from previous:      
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics. This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.

Jump to:  


Last Thread | Next Thread  >

Forum Rules:
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

 
Templates created by Vereor and Ken