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ChristineM
Posts: 260
Registered: ‎12-31-2006
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Dialogue

Ok, I read your dialogue essay and first I have to ask, "where were you 20 years ago when I was trying to figure this out from scratch!" (I know, I know, Iowa.)

Second, is there some unwritten rule about only having 2 sections of dialogue per paragraph? I read somewhere that that was absolutely verboten and I don't see it often, but I have seen times when a writer has used three or more bits of dialogue laced throughout a paragraph. Always the same person speaking of course, but things are broken up by actions. There have been times when I've really had to go through contortions to get everything situtated correctly without resorting to letting the character speak more than twice.
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LeighMichaels
Posts: 297
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Dialogue

There isn't any kind of a rule about letting characters speak more than twice in a paragraph, but there is a common-sense limit. If you listen to real conversations, you'll note that it's very seldom someone says more than two sentences without the other person in the conversation making a comment (even if it's only an "uh-huh" sort of agreeing phrase). So when one character's dialogue goes on too long, it sounds unnatural, more like a speech than a conversation.

Even if the second person can't get a word in edgewise (some talkers DO go on at length!), they're apt to react somehow. Holding up a hand to stop the flow of words; yawning widely; picking up a carving knife to ... no, sorry.

How long is too long for a character to talk? That's where the fine art of author choice comes in -- it will depend on the situation and the character. You don't want the reader to forget the other character is there.

So that's why you've noticed what seems to be a two-sentence rule -- it's because fairly frequently we want the reader to notice what the other person in the conversation is doing, even if they're not talking.

Happy writing,
Leigh
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Ch-Janet
Posts: 111
Registered: ‎02-09-2007
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Re: Dialogue

Couldn't get Leigh's link to work. Is this the article?

http://home.mchsi.com/~webclass/dialogue.htm
Frequent Contributor
Ch-Janet
Posts: 111
Registered: ‎02-09-2007
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Re: Dialogue

Hmmm. That doesn't work either. It takes me to a completely different page from the one i posted the link too.
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ChristineM
Posts: 260
Registered: ‎12-31-2006
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Re: Dialogue

I couldn't get the link to work either so I went fishing.

Go to Leigh's site. On the left hand side of the screen there area a row of buttons. Click "Help for Writers." The third section down is titled "Exercises, Worksheets and More." Under that is a hot link for "Classroom on the Web." Dialogue is the 7th button on the left hand side of that screen.

Hope that helps.
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LeighMichaels
Posts: 297
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Links

There's something about the coding that doesn't like the squiggle character, so it drops off whatever is after that. About the only way to make those links work is to copy and paste them, and that will take you to the Classroom on the Web site. Once there you can bookmark it (it's an open site, not just for students) and then you can go back anytime.

Thanks for giving it the old school try!

Leigh
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HoplessRomantic
Posts: 94
Registered: ‎08-03-2007
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Re: Writing Sample

Entertaining,
The heroine should run into hero not wall. You could do the whole mainly chest thing and how it feelt like she ran into a wall. :smileyhappy:
"I don't kill infants." might be a better comeback.
I posted an alternative intro in the rommance writing post. My main character is a body guard/mercenary. It's complicated. :smileyhappy:
Love to read more
Aspen
â It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.â Said by Mrs. Bennet in Jane Austens Pride and Prejudice
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