Dialogue Part 5 Comments

These are the original comments from the old barrylyga.com. To add a comment, return to the BLog page.

Miss Purple Prose

By: Violet
on Wed July 29, 2009, 11:59:39

Mr. Lyga, this advice could not have come at a better time. I just started a piece, and after reading this it’s clear I need to declutter my writing. Thanks for showing me that simplicity is key.

Re: Writing Advice #12: Dialogue Part 5

By: Barry
on Wed July 29, 2009, 12:19:18

@Violet: We’ve all been there. Glad I could help!

Re: Writing Advice #12: Dialogue Part 5

By: Sally
on Wed July 29, 2009, 15:31:04

Eeeh, definitely need to work on my dialogue, methinks. C’est le vie.
Thanks again for the writing tips. 🙂

Dialogue Part 5

By: Abbe
on Wed July 29, 2009, 17:57:58

Each week, I look forward to your blog posting. I have loved all of the information in each of the blogs on writing, especially, the dialogue guidelines. They are wonderful. I keep sharing the information with others (especially teens) who want to become better writers. Narrative has always been my stronger skill, and I have wanted to improve in my ability to write dialogue. I am working to incorporate your advice into my writing…one of these days it will all fall into place. Thanks for sharing…

Re: Writing Advice #12: Dialogue Part 5

By: Barry
on Wed July 29, 2009, 18:18:53

@Abbe: You’re very welcome!

Writing Advice #12: Dialogue Part 5

By: Diane
on Wed December 09, 2009, 13:59:21

This was very helpful and interesting, though it seems to contradict a tip I read just today from Laurie Halse Anderson. Revision Tip #9
“Does your draft have dialog that goes on for pages? Feels like a screenplay more than a novel?
You (or more accurately) your characters need some action: Verbs, my friends. You are in need of verbs.
Step 1: Choose a dialog-heavy scene.
Step 2: Brainstorm abut what kinds of actions the characters might be doing while they are having this conversation. F. ex., mom and son arguing at the grocery store about if he can borrow the car Friday night. Potential actions: picking out groceries (be specific!), checking labels, returning groceries to shelf (possibility for character development! Does this character go to the trouble of returning item where it belongs or not?), smelling squeezing, poking. More character development: are items neatly stacked in cart, or thrown in?
Step 3: Insert actions into dialog.
Step 4: See where you can trim dialog by allowing characters’ actions to speak louder than their words.”
I”m sure that Laurie would agree that unnecessary actions do not add anything of value to the scene. Still, she seemed to be suggesting something almost the opposite of what you are suggesting. I think the take away tip for me is to make sure everything I write is important to the story, whether it’s dialog or action.

Re: Writing Advice #12: Dialogue Part 5

By: Barry
on Wed December 09, 2009, 14:13:26

What the hell does Laurie Halse Anderson know???
I kid, I kid! I love Laurie. 🙂
I think the key word here is “unnecessary.” You’ll notice that in the mock rewrite up above, I did leave a bit of blocking. Either extreme is going to be problematic.
Your takeaway is spot-on.

Great Post!

By: Theresa Milstein
on Wed December 16, 2009, 12:09:42

Your examples make it easy to see what works and what doesn’t. I think too many writers are afraid to rely on the dialogue. There’s a balance between dialogue, thought, and action, depending on scene and characters.
I appreciate your perspective on “said” and “asked”. If “said” is overused, I notice it when reading published books. There’s nothing wrong with using “answered” “shouted” or some other alternative once in a while. And I agree sometimes no tag is needed, as long as it’s clear who’s speaking.
I think Laurie Halse Anderson’s post on 12/10 clears up any confusion. As I wrote on her post, your perspectives complement, rather than contradict one another.