Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Dialogue

1. Are the individuals actual persons, talking the way real persons do, or are they characters?

2. Can you tell the difference between the two?

3. Does the reader know the difference?

4. Do your characters:
(a) talk to each other as though the reader were not there?
(b) talk to the audience as though the other characters were not there?
(c) try to explain things to each other that they already know?
(d) say things that are likely to bore the reader?

5. Do your characters speak as characters of their time and social station would speak?

6. Do your characters speak to intimates and strangers in the same tone and with the same attitude?

7. Do your characters tend to sound alike?

8. Do your characters like one another?

9. Do your characters always say what they mean?

10. When you think about writing dialogue, does the word "subtext " make you nervous?

11. Do your characters ever say things that surprise or embarrass you?

12. Do your characters know how to end a conversation?

13. Do you know how to end a conversation?


Lori Witzel said...

Mr. Stevens would smile at the title...

I'd not noticed nervousness when hearing the word "subtext," but hearing the word "metafiction" once gave me a rash shaped like Argentina.

(I suspect you're right about Pod, BTW. It would explain a lot.)

lowenkopf said...

I once had a rash shaped like Oklahoma.

x said...

OK. I get it regarding dialogue. But I still don't get how subtexts relate to my posts. Pondering.