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Old 01-17-2015, 02:15 AM   #1
Steven Forbes
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Emoting In Dialogue

Emoting. Putting emotion in your character's dialogue. Do you know what it's about? It's about punctuation.

It's all about punctuation.

Let's look at a two word sentence. "Oh no".

Now, that's incorrect, of course. Here it is again, still incorrect.

Oh no

What we're going to do is add punctuation to this in order to make it correct. the first thing we're going to do is add a comma. If you don't know why, learn.

Oh, no

So, it's still incorrect, but it's more correct than it was. What we have to do now is put in the ending punctuation. That ending punctuation will tell the reader a lot about the emotional state of your character.

Oh, no.

Technically, that's correct. I can see that being said in conjunction with something else. It's a bit bored, but as a short sentence, it also has a small feeling of being rushed. I can get behind this in some cases.

Oh, no...

Again, that's correct. The trailing off sound that the ellipsis provides gives the feeling of dread.

Oh, no!

Again, correct. This could give the feeling of dismay, disappointment, surprise, and a host of other emotions.

The ending punctuation for your dialogue is going to give your characters life. I've seen too many "dead" characters because the characters aren't emoting.

Which sounds better?

Oh, no. He's coming at me with an ax.

or

Oh, no! He's coming at me with an ax!

Emoting in dialogue. Make sure your characters do it.
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Old 01-17-2015, 03:34 AM   #2
Morganza
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Excellent advice, more like this!
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Old 01-17-2015, 03:48 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Forbes View Post
Oh, no! He's coming at me with an ax!

Emoting in dialogue. Make sure your characters do it.
Then try to make all your characters sound different.

"F***! Gazza's got a bloody axe!"

"Git outta mah way! He reaches me wit' dat ax an' ahm DID!"


Well, maybe don't go that far.
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Old 01-23-2015, 06:03 AM   #4
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Great advice! Is there a reason you didn't expand this a bit and make it a B&N article, Steven? (I also want to point out your pouch of nuts link on CT is missing the link to your final article 198).
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Old 01-23-2015, 06:10 AM   #5
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It's a quick hit. There isn't enough here to make a full article.
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