Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Editing Frenzy: Prompt fifteen: dialogues, who is talking?

This is the moment when we start checking the dialogues. We are going to work on this for few weeks.

First we are going to determine who is talking and if it's clear for the reader. There are a lot of time, especially when I read short excerpt of novels when I don't have any idea who is talking and that's a bit turn off.
Make sure it's clear by adding the name of the character with your dialogue tag, make sure you don't use pronoun (he or she) for two different person in the same dialogue if you don't specify the name of the character somewhere.

Here is an example of dialogue from Demon Soul between Brownie (pink) and Gideon (blue)

(1) “Yeah, he is just as fine as when we left him, I’m a bit too stressed about that,” Brownie said pretending that it hadn’t been such a big deal.
(2) “I was a bit stressed too, in fact, that’s why I came back so fast as well,” Gideon said. He was feeling bad for not having understood Brownie’s feelings sooner. (3) “Let’s not do it again”, he added.
Brownie nodded. She took the so precious book on the table and tried to change topic, the atmosphere was really getting heavy.
(4) “I tried to figure out which powers he was going to have first but I don’t seem to be able to find out.”
(5) “Do you think he will have all of them?” Gideon asked.
(6) “Well the demons I know do so probably…” Brownie wasn’t too sure. It seemed a lot for a single baby.
Gideon started to flick distractedly through the book. He seemed to him that he never knew a book so well.
(7) “I’ll try to have the temperature easier to control.” He took a green and an orange stone out of his pocket, (8) “Grenadine and Hitomi asked me to make them a pendant with those three days ago, and I’d better do it soon.”

1) The first sentence is obviously Brownie because of the dialogue tag: "Brownie said"
2-3) Same for the next too: "Gideon said", "he added" 
As Gideon was the one talking it's obvious that he can only represent him, especially that he is the only boy around.
4) There we don't have a dialogue tag but The previous action paragraph belongs to Brownie making it clear she is the one speaking.
5) Here we have again a dialogue tag "Gideon asked" for the question.
6) It makes it obvious that Brownie is the one answering, even more by adding something about Brownie's knowledge.
7-8) Once again, the paragraph circling the action belongs to Gideon making him the speaker. 

I'm not a big fan of having long chunk of dialogue without tags or action thinking that the reader will know who is talking just because there are only two characters and of course they answer to each other. I find it rather clumsy. 

I also complained few weeks earlier about action cutting the dialogue and characters doing three thing at the same time. Here you can see that the character are first sharing a book on topic but not overusing it. Also their actions aren't presented in the same sentence as the dialogue tag. Then between 7 and 8, there is a change of action for Gideon used to emphasise the change in the dialogue, still him taking the stones out is closely related to his explanation for it.

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