Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day 39

English 101 Day 39
1. Essays back today, and Thursday for 930 class


i. Short
ii. Vivid
iii. Believable

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.
• Bars.
• 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

Punctuate correctly
• 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."
–Anton Chekhov

1. Time
1. Year
2. Season
3. Month
4. Day of Week
5. Time of Day
6. General Era

1. Place (physical environment)
1. Country
2. State
3. City
4. Landscape
5. Climate
6. House
7. Yard/Surroundings

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

5 w’s


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
iv. Immediacy?

v. Disadvantages

1. Less flexible
2. Can be contrived

c. Third person

i. Better for "hot" material.
ii. Flexible.
iii. Omniscient/Limited (All characters v Single character)
iv. Objective/Subjective: (No thoughts or feelings v. Thoughts and Feelings)

v. Disadvantages
a. "Head hopping"=confusion unless handled right


EmilyMurphy said...

Today's lesson on dialogue was very helpful and interesting and i also learned how i should be using setting in my paper.

Emily said...

Doing all of these exercises has been really helpful, but im still stuck on a topic...I have NO IDEA what im going to write about :(

Monica said...

i can't wait to get my essay back to see if i have improved

cody said...

The dialogue exercise was a fun way on how to make a conversation.