English 101 Day 39
1. Essays back today, and Thursday for 930 class
Tips on Dialogue
In two's: I'm sorry but…
1. The first writer pulls out a piece of paper and begins their dialogue with the words "I'm sorry, but…". They complete the sentence and pass the journal to their partner.
2. The partner, after reading the sentence,writes a line (or paragraph) of dialogue which heightens the tension.
3. Keep passing the journal back and forth, trying to throw curve balls at one another without delving into the absurd.
Movies with great dialogue: Tarantino, Juno, Linklater, Kevin Smith, Coen Brothers, David Mamet, Casablanca, China Town, Aaron Sorkin
Listen to how people talk to each other
• Most of it is the weather.
• He's like a bull in a china shop…
• Eating out.
• Waiting rooms.
• Cell phone jerks.
• At the checkout.
More notes on dialogue:
Dialogue is not real speech, but it should sound like it.
• Cut words and phrases that don't move things along
Don't use dialogue to provide exposition—keep it to three sentences or less
Break it up with action—remind us they are physical
Vary signal phrases, but keep it simple. Don't use elaborate signal phrases (she expostulated, he interjected)
Avoid stereotypes in dialect, but…
• Huck Finn
• To Kill a Mockingbird
Don't over use slang/profanity. "Slang goes sour in a short time." --EH
Read a lot. Note good/bad
• Use quotation marks?
Start a new paragraph when changing speakers.
"If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's not going to be fired, it shouldn't be hanging there."
4. Day of Week
5. Time of Day
6. General Era
1. Place (physical environment)
For example: Greasy Lake, Death of a Salesman, To Build a Fire, The Storm, Grapes of Wrath
Exercise: For your first chapter--The departure, or Ordinary World
Point of view
a. First Person
1. Single character's point of view.
b. Advantages of First Person
i. maintain naivete or innocence
ii. Narrated out loud.
iii. Irony of narrator/Humor
1. Also, unreliable/biased narrators
1. Less flexible
2. Can be contrived
c. Third person
i. Better for "hot" material.
iii. Omniscient/Limited (All characters v Single character)
iv. Objective/Subjective: (No thoughts or feelings v. Thoughts and Feelings)
a. "Head hopping"=confusion unless handled right