mbarker: (Me typing?)
Writing Excuses 5.20: More Dialogue Exercises


Key Points: Make sure characters have different personalities. A little banter goes a long way. Practice and good writing group comments can help. Think about how to evoke character and make it interesting. Beware narrative and description forced into dialogue. Keep the dialogue natural. Short, the way most people talk. Trust your readers to make connections, to put things together and figure out what is going on and why.
exercises by the listeners )
[Brandon] I'm going to read those. We'll just skip the writing prompt. I'm just going to end this by reading some Saberhagen. All right?
[Dan] OK. Nice.
[Brandon] Hear me, for I am Ardneh. Ardneh who rides the elephant, who wields the lightning, who rends fortifications as the rushing passage of time consumes cheap cloth. You slay me in this avatar, but I live on in other human beings. I am Ardneh, and in the end, I will slay thee, and thou wilt not live on.
Hear me, Ekuman. Neither by day nor by night will I slay thee. Neither with the blade nor with the bow... neither by the edge of the hand nor with the fist... neither with the wet nor with the dry.

The next line is him dying.
[Dan] Sweet. Talk about promises to the reader.
[Brandon] Yeah. There we are. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
mbarker: (Burp)
Writing Excuses 5.17: Dialogue Exercises


Key Points: Make your characters identifiable from their dialogue alone. Make sure there's a sense of the world, the setting, and action. If you use dialect, do it sparingly, but be consistent. Word choice, sentence length, verbal quirks, social position -- any and all of these can be used to differentiate your characters. And don't forget the interplay of the characters, too.
talk, talk, talk... )
[Brandon] So we'll go ahead and do a writing prompt. Dan?
[Howard] Ha, ha!
[Dan] Oh, man. Okay. You are walking down a back alley and you meet Jason from Dragonmount and he's getting all uppity about how he had a great writing sample. What do you do to him?
[Brandon] Okay. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 31: Line Editing Dialogue


Key Points: Look at various ways to rewrite, and consider which works best for your purposes. Dialogue is an imitation of speech that feels realistic, not a transcript. Consider the voice of the character. Watch out for said-bookisms, adverbs (aka Tom Swifties), and "seem to"s. Make sure snappy retorts snap.
Lots and lots of line editing... )
[Brandon] All right. Writing prompt this week was given to us by Producer Jordo who really, really, really wants you to write some stories called, "The Importance of Being Earnest Goes to Jail." Or, no, "Earnest goes to Camp?"
[Dan] Or to jail. I'm sure you could take any Earnest movie and mash it up with Oscar Wilde and come up with an abomination that we would all love to hear.
[Brandon] We want a mashup of an earnest movie with Oscar Wilde. So there's your writing prompt. You might have an excuse this time to not write.
[Howard] You've got a couple of good excuses, but please write anyway. Because you're writers. Right?
[Brandon, Dan] Right.
[Brandon] Bye-bye.
[Howard] That was awful.
mbarker: (Smile)
Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 26: Avoiding Stilted Dialogue


Key points: Stilted dialogue moves like stilts staggering down the street. It doesn't feel like a conversation, or it doesn't match the character. People don't talk in complete sentences. Fiction dialogue represents conversation, it doesn't portray it exactly (skip the ums, hums, haws, etc.). Give the illusion of reality. Write the dialogue you need, then prune it. Beware maid and butler dialogue, where characters talk about things to educate the reader, rather than because they would ordinarily talk about those things. Consider when they would have first talked about that, then let them reflect on those past conversations. Get your characters into arguments, and let them slip in the information you want as a side issue. Toss the characters into a scene and let them talk.
Yackity-yack and don't talk back... )
[Brandon] All right. Howard, you're waving your hand. Why don't you do the...
[Dan] Oo! You have a writing prompt!
[Howard] I've got a writing prompt. This is a two-parter. Start with maid and butler dialogue with a maid and a butler who are establishing important plot points. Write the worst maid and butler dialogue you know how to write. Okay? It's an info dump and it's awful. Now go back and rewrite it. Now the maid and the butler are having an argument, a very impassioned, brutal sort of argument. The same information comes out, only make it not feel like maid and butler dialogue.
[Brandon] All right. There you are. You're out of excuses, now go write.
mbarker: (MantisYes)
Writing Excuses Season Three Episode 24: Writing Comics with Jake Black


Key Points: Comic scripts need to be clear enough in stage directions and dialogue for the rest of the creative team to figure out what's going on. Be prepared to adjust and tweak. Comic characters don't talk a lot -- 20 or fewer words in a balloon. It's a visual medium, and dialogue and captions eat up art space.
Inside the Fortress of Solitude )
[Dan] We are running far over time, so we are going to cut this. Please tune in next week when we will talk about how to get into the business of writing comics, and how to succeed and stay in the business of writing comics. Your writing prompt for today is to write a story -- you can do this as prose or you can do it as a comic script -- in which Superman swoops into a room, kicks something undefined, and then turns into Spiderman.
mbarker: (Fireworks Delight)

I'm Brandon, I'm Dan, I'm Howard . . . and I'm Batman
here there be spoilers? )
Writing prompt
Brandon: take an old piece of writing, one that you've been working on in the last year, and take a dialogue scene. Then take each line of dialogue up by half a notch -- make it a little more unexpected, evoke a little more of the character -- but it should mean the same thing.
Howard: crank it all up, but have the dialogue end up in the same place as before.
mbarker: (Burp)
Writing Excuses Episode 32: Talking Exposition with Patrick Rothfuss


Key points: don't start with info dumps. Avoid essays, police artist sketches, thesis statements, repeating. Use three good details, and characters in action. Toss readers into the world, and move the story and the characters forward. Arguments are good. Make every sentence do more than one thing. Give your readers a little tease, then wait. Make the exposition a payoff instead of an entry price.
to da dump, to da dump, to da dump, dump, dump )
Take one thing that's unimportant and explain the heck out of it. Take something else that is very important and don't explain it all.

May 2017

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