“There was something I was going to write about for my Indies Unlimited post this week,” I said to my daughter Kat. “Do you remember what it was?”
“Hmm. Maybe it was punctuation in dialogue,” she said.
“You’re right!” I said. “You were saying that your teachers never went over it in school.”
“Yeah,” she said. “We concentrated on learning the rules for writing essays, because that’s what kids need to know to pass the state-mandated tests.”
I interjected, “Which the kids need to do so the teachers can keep their jobs.”
“Exactly. And there’s no dialogue in an essay.” Continue reading “Dialogue: Punctuation”
Ideally, dialogue in fiction is supposed to be a representation of how people actually speak. (Extracting the polite greetings and chitchat and such, unless that chitchat reveals story or character.) So how better to learn the way people actually speak than listen to them conversing with one another?
Before I get arrested as an accessory to violation of privacy, I’m not saying that you should put your ear up to walls (unless something particularly juicy is going on and you stand to make a few bucks selling the story to the tabloids) or hang out outside people’s domiciles with a shotgun mic. I’m talking about a little public eavesdropping. Don’t think you can pull it off without blushing, staring, urinary incontinence, or otherwise giving yourself away? Try some of my favorite Harriet The Spy eavesdropping tips: Continue reading “Eavesdrop Your Way To Better Dialogue”