tagHow ToA Quick Burble About Dialogue

A Quick Burble About Dialogue

byCruel2BKind©

Let's be frank. We write erotica.

I am well aware of the longer plotted stories, but for most of the stories, the dialogue stays fairly simple. That being said, 'He said, She said' can get frustrating and unsexy in shorter stories, and mind-numbingly tedious in the longer stories. Unlike an obnoxious character, or a single confusing line, dialogue rarely goes away. The way you present your dialogue can be the difference between a fun sexy story and a migraine-inducing nightmare.

And because I like to ramble, here; in no particular order, are some tips to help you achieve conversation Nirvana.

BREAK IT UP

Just like a 500 word paragraph can strain the eyes, too much dialogue in one chunk can strain a reader. Humans operate better if information comes in chunks. Most information in our society is designed to be read and processed in chunks. Social Security Numbers, telephone numbers, license plate numbers, bullet points, I could go on and on. And dialogue in your stories should be broken up more then the Hershey's bar I just found under my mattress.

Do not misunderstand me and think that I am telling you to make your sentences shorter. You don't need to have your characters grunt and point like cave(wo)men. But a few breaks can make it easier on the eye and brain. Here are two examples of the same woman speaking.

---

"I don't know Dan. I mean, I've liked you since we were kids, but aren't you worried about your friend Harold? I know that Harold and I broke up, but it might still be touchy for him. If we go any further, I don't know if I'll be able to stop."

-

Samantha halted abruptly and pushed Dan away from her. "I don't know Dan." She panted, her round white breasts heaving at the top of her lace bra. "I mean, I've liked you since we were kids, but aren't you worried about your friend, Harold?" Dan winced slightly, looking at Samantha with a wounded expression.

Samantha bit her lip. "I know that Harold and I broke up, but it might still be touchy for him. If we go any further, I don't know if I'll be able to stop."

---

Break up the conversation for 'reaction shots'. The dialogue takes a little longer to get out, but you're telling the story as you do so. The words are more integrated with the story, you can really sense them moving and thinking as they speak. Break up into more then one paragraph if you have to. Just remember that readers will absorb information better if it is in bite-sized chunks.

AH-AH! ONE AT A TIME DAMMIT!

This is a very simple rule that is broken quite often. It isn't a matter of artistry or skill, it's just a no-no.

Do not (I repeat) DO NOT, let two characters have dialogue within the same paragraph. This is on the same level as forgetting the quotation marks as far as rules in dialogue. It looks sloppy, it's easy to forget who's speaking, and it lends to bigger messier paragraphs.

So, one at a time.

HE SAID, SHE SAID, THE DANGER OF ATTRIBUTIVES

Often, stories struggle with a bad case of the 'he-said-she-said's' and those who try to avoid that can come down with 'pontificate-itis'.

We've all read (or perhaps written) a story where the dialogue never shifts from two or three well-worn attributives. Phrases like; He said, she said, John said, Martha said, etc. When you read a story like this, it can be a major annoyance. However, 'pontificate-itis' is just as obnoxious.

The author realizes that s/he uses 'he said' too often and tries to come up with ever more articulate phrases to convey meaning. Like; She pontificated, he rhapsodized, Martha babbled, John divulged, etc. Needless to say, this can border on ridiculous.

Of course there are a couple of easy fixes. Many of these phrases work in certain places; asked, questioned, whispered, shouted, cried, gasped, and so on. (those are some of my favorites.) If you make sure that the attributive matches the situation, you can have some variety without getting absurd.

Another loophole that I make generous use of. You don't even have to specifically say 'he said' or the equivalent. Look at this example.

---

Martha sat down and combed her reddish hair, wincing at the tangles. "I don't know why we have to go to this stupid charity thing!"

---

I did not say 'she said', or 'Martha said' or any equivalent. If you put a brief mention of your character before writing a quote, people know that it is the person you just wrote about that is supposed to be speaking.

Finally, there is nothing wrong with using 'said' in moderation.

GIVE YOUR AUDIENCE A LITTLE CREDIT

This tip ties back to the last one, but often, you can get away with not having to write anything at all before launching into dialogue.

Let's have an example of a couple named Martha and Stewart. Let's say that they are in bed, and Stewart is giving Martha oral sex. You have already set this up in a former paragraph.

---

"Oh God! Oh God that feels AMAZING!"

---

You don't have to add a single word to that, because no one reading that sentence will think that Stewart is saying that. If it is obvious who is speaking, you don't have to worry about wearing out any of your attributives.

CAPS LOCK (yay, irony!)

I will say this once. I will not say it again.

If you ever use all caps to describe an orgasm... I will hunt you down.

I hope this was informative and helpful!

Kisses and Spanks,

--Cruel

P.S. I mean it. If you ever type CCUUUUUMMMMIIIINNNGGG..... I will end you.

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