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Old 03-20-2013, 10:55 AM   #1
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Helpful Writing Advice

"Many people talk freely and easily and fluently, but if you had a stenographer record their remarks you would wonder what they did with the periods, the ends of sentences, and that sort of thing. People do not talk in complete sentences; they talk in ideas. In working with hypnotic subjects you want to communicate an idea. You want to communicate it in a very simple way and in a most effective way. And you want to use the greatest possible economy of words. Furthermore, you want to know exactly what it is you are suggesting." Milton H. Erickson MD
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:49 PM   #2
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I like that... Thank you.

I think that some of the best writing is when it feels as though the person is telling you a story as though they are sitting right in front of you speaking, rather than it feeling as though a great distance seperates the story teller and the listener.
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:13 PM   #3
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I like that... Thank you.

I think that some of the best writing is when it feels as though the person is telling you a story as though they are sitting right in front of you speaking, rather than it feeling as though a great distance seperates the story teller and the listener.
Erickson said the same exact thing as you.
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:26 PM   #4
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It's true, that's not how you talk. It also, however, isn't the way a writer should write dialogue. If they did, it would be almost impossible to read and understand. So writing style isn't that literal.
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:33 PM   #5
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It's true, that's not how you talk. It also, however, isn't the way a writer should write dialogue. If they did, it would be almost impossible to read and understand. So writing style isn't that literal.

I admire your optimism, Pilot. You ever get that pig to sing?
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Old 03-20-2013, 05:07 PM   #6
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This is a point I make to people in the other sense that dialogue should never be perfect English.

Listen to a conversation between three or four people, most people do not speak "properly" therefore to me, "perfect dialogue" seems stilted and unrealistic
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Old 03-20-2013, 05:15 PM   #7
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I admire your optimism, Pilot. You ever get that pig to sing?
A little kindnessóand putting her hair in papersówould do wonders with her....
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Old 03-20-2013, 05:18 PM   #8
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This is a point I make to people in the other sense that dialogue should never be perfect English.

Listen to a conversation between three or four people, most people do not speak "properly" therefore to me, "perfect dialogue" seems stilted and unrealistic
Exactly! Its like Hollywood sitcoms where everyone sounds like theyre from California, which they are.
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Old 03-20-2013, 05:49 PM   #9
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:28 PM   #10
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When I was first published, years and years ago, one of the things the magazine editors liked the most was my dialogue. They told me that I "wrote the way people actually talk."

One of the things that turns me off the most in a story is when everything any character says is perfectly punctuated, with no use of slang spelling.

"I think I am going to the store to get a few items."

Doesn't sound as real as:

"Think I'm gonna go to the store and grab a few things."

Of course, words choice and spelling is affected by the character's nature. You wouldn't write the same dialogue for a man from London as you would for a man from Texarkana.
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slyc_willie View Post
When I was first published, years and years ago, one of the things the magazine editors liked the most was my dialogue. They told me that I "wrote the way people actually talk."

One of the things that turns me off the most in a story is when everything any character says is perfectly punctuated, with no use of slang spelling.

"I think I am going to the store to get a few items."

Doesn't sound as real as:

"Think I'm gonna go to the store and grab a few things."

Of course, words choice and spelling is affected by the character's nature. You wouldn't write the same dialogue for a man from London as you would for a man from Texarkana.
Youre 100% right! I dont know if Lovecraft speaks Boston Yankee Doodle but they have all kinds or words we never say down South...like BUBBLER and TONIC WTF!
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:43 PM   #12
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Youre 100% right! I dont know if Lovecraft speaks Boston Yankee Doodle but they have all kinds or words we never say down South...like BUBBLER and TONIC WTF!
Tonic! That's a Boston thing for sure.

I'm next door IN RI, but we say soda.

My wife is from Boston and another Boston expression is "mayan"
as in "Mine" but they prononce it like the "Mayan" race.

A good Rhode Island expression is "Not for nothin" and I'm famous for that one.
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovecraft68 View Post
Tonic! That's a Boston thing for sure.

I'm next door IN RI, but we say soda.

My wife is from Boston and another Boston expression is "mayan"
as in "Mine" but they prononce it like the "Mayan" race.

A good Rhode Island expression is "Not for nothin" and I'm famous for that one.
Down here in Texas, some people have a tendency to add extra syllables . . . .

"I'll take ray-anch dressin on my salad, please."

It always makes me chuckle. ;p
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:53 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by slyc_willie View Post
Down here in Texas, some people have a tendency to add extra syllables . . . .

"I'll take ray-anch dressin on my salad, please."

It always makes me chuckle. ;p
Years ago I did telemarketing as a part time job. There was decent money in it for what it was and I got a kick out of it.

One thing that used to get me to roll my eyes Is when I would talk to people from down south and they would say "Y'all got to be from Boston"

I would say Rhode Island and they would say "where?"

Apparently the east coast ends at Massachusetts
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The queen is the most powerful piece in the game of chess and frequently has to protect the rather weak king.

Just like in real life.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:01 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slyc_willie View Post
When I was first published, years and years ago, one of the things the magazine editors liked the most was my dialogue. They told me that I "wrote the way people actually talk."

One of the things that turns me off the most in a story is when everything any character says is perfectly punctuated, with no use of slang spelling.

"I think I am going to the store to get a few items."

Doesn't sound as real as:

"Think I'm gonna go to the store and grab a few things."

Of course, words choice and spelling is affected by the character's nature. You wouldn't write the same dialogue for a man from London as you would for a man from Texarkana.
I write one character who would say "get a few items" and it's very indicative of her book-larned, poorly socialised, character.

She drives everyone else a little nuts, actually.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:16 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stella_Omega View Post
I write one character who would say "get a few items" and it's very indicative of her book-larned, poorly socialised, character.

She drives everyone else a little nuts, actually.
Good point. Word choice can go a long way to describing a character's attitude and education, even without explicitly mentioning either.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:27 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slyc_willie View Post
When I was first published, years and years ago, one of the things the magazine editors liked the most was my dialogue. They told me that I "wrote the way people actually talk."

One of the things that turns me off the most in a story is when everything any character says is perfectly punctuated, with no use of slang spelling.

"I think I am going to the store to get a few items."

Doesn't sound as real as:

"Think I'm gonna go to the store and grab a few things."

Of course, words choice and spelling is affected by the character's nature. You wouldn't write the same dialogue for a man from London as you would for a man from Texarkana.
Amazing! Someone taught me this very thing when I started writing.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:40 PM   #18
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Amazing! Someone taught me this very thing when I started writing.
Such a coincidence!
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:49 PM   #19
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Such a coincidence!
Uh huh.
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:25 AM   #20
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Exactly! Its like Hollywood sitcoms where everyone sounds like theyre from California, which they are.
I like the cop shows where the cops are chasing the villains all over town on foot--and wearing designer suits. And not having broken a sweat at the end of the chase.
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:09 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MistressLynn View Post
Amazing! Someone taught me this very thing when I started writing.
Must have been someone at least somewhat gifted at writing . . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by sr71plt View Post
I like the cop shows where the cops are chasing the villains all over town on foot--and wearing designer suits. And not having broken a sweat at the end of the chase.
Um . . . okay . . . .
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:43 AM   #22
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Years ago I did telemarketing as a part time job. There was decent money in it for what it was and I got a kick out of it.

One thing that used to get me to roll my eyes Is when I would talk to people from down south and they would say "Y'all got to be from Boston"

I would say Rhode Island and they would say "where?"

Apparently the east coast ends at Massachusetts
All those locations you mention I'd also say "where?" - sure I've heard the names before, but won't be able to point them out on the map. Somewhere in that huge chunk of map with the letters "USA" printed big on it. Having never been nearer than a complete ocean away to the USA might help.

And for that exact reason I do not use place names in my stories. Not even distances. "His town" and "her town" that are "a three-hour drive apart". Let the reader fill in what THEY think would be suitable for "town", and how far three hours drive is (in Europe that will be further than in the US as we drive so much faster).

And I'm sure you natives will sometimes chuckle on my language use. I'm pretty much sticking to UK spelling having been taught that in school, but have picked up plenty of US, Australian, British and other expressions and slang from various sources. And will use them regardless of origin.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:07 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by lovecraft68 View Post
Tonic! That's a Boston thing for sure.

I'm next door IN RI, but we say soda.

My wife is from Boston and another Boston expression is "mayan"
as in "Mine" but they prononce it like the "Mayan" race.

A good Rhode Island expression is "Not for nothin" and I'm famous for that one.
My son in law and his family are from RI, and none of them talk like people I know from Boston.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:22 AM   #24
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My son in law and his family are from RI, and none of them talk like people I know from Boston.
The difference is Boston has that "ahhh" sound. If you watch Jaws in the beginning Rob Schneider does that the "Cah is not to fah from yaahd."

Rhode Island what we do is drop the R's in words. Its not water its watah,

The tough one is "Porn shop" vs Pawn shop they sound the same. Especially tough when my mother wanted to appraise some jewelry and said "Hey I just went to the pawn shop! you should see all the cool stuff.":

So where in RI are they from? Providence?
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:25 AM   #25
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Good point. Word choice can go a long way to describing a character's attitude and education, even without explicitly mentioning either.
Yep. Erickson filled a book with suggestions and observations about speech and movement and observations. One of the interesting points he made involved attention to detail, he said people frequently miss the big stuff; his example was 6 medical interns and one old woman. In 3 hours of looking at her none of the interns had a clue what her problem was, both her legs were amputated close to her hips (diabetes). They didnt see the amputations!

I had a serious fight with an MD about this. The child had a saddle injury, and a witness who saw the child jump from a ladder onto a sawhorse. The doc said someone kicked the kids groin. I argued that it was almost impossible to field kick a kid's crotch without two people holding the kid. This same MD killed a kid with pneumonia, he insisted it was a cold, dismissing the penumonia diagnosis made by a health department MD who saw the kid.
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