Re: Play Write Dialogue

Hello, I had to read the whole thing to find out what you meant and then read the whole thing again. I see what you did there. haha

My personal opinion on that style is, amateurish. Its okay for like first drafts, I have done that of course but its much better to let your reader take the wheel like so.

Quote:"It's strange, Mom. Some of the things I usually love doing, I don't really get much enjoyment from anymore. Certain things just bore me now"

"It's called "maturing", Martin. Frankly, I'm shocked that you are even capable of doing so"

It's more simple, Engaging for the reader and frankly, if they can't figure out who is talking, its not their fault but your fault for not generating a more recognizable personality. For your scenario specifically, the blue boxes would work great, otherwise just do the same and have the reader figure it out.

P.S. I had that problem too (I'm only 2 days old on this forum), top of the post, click the "do not subscribe" change it to "site notifications" and then hit subscribe. * I don't recommend you subscribe to any forum games thread though *

Re: Play Write Dialogue

Dialog written like a play or a script has limited uses. 

Text messages. - hells yeah
Text chat on computer. - yeps
Dictated text being recorded or read back. - yar
computer recorded speech which has been digitized for storage - yeppers

While writing in a typical novel format, you just won't see it except for in those cases.

There is a reason for this, it lacks descriptive flavor and you cannot include a characters actions such as facial expressions, tone of voice ect. doing so would break it out of the name:text format and make it difficult to read.

Script writers use this method because then the spoken word becomes divorced from screen direction and allows the actor to concentrate on the performance rather than extraneous information. it also makes editing or changing dialog much easier. 
Script writers use it because of necessity.

We have many more interesting tools at our disposal as writers, we do not need to hamstring ourselves be using such a rigidly defined method of writing dialog.
There are many different tricks you can use to avoid the trap of using the :  "blahblah blah" said Barry  pattern,  you probably know of course, but if there are two people you can even completely remove their names after the pattern is established. You can use expressive actions to highlight character names, or describe actions to heighten the content of a conversation for longer discussions.

My opinion is this. Yeah you might use it for planning dialog so that it didn't slow you down in writing it. But it is not condusive to good nor readable dialog. it also drastically reduces descriptive content. I would only use it for a literal text message conversation or something similar.

Re: Play Write Dialogue


Martin Wrote: For anyone unsure of what I mean by play write dialogue: 

Martin: It's strange, mom. Some of things I usually love doing, I don't really get much enjoyment from anymore. Certain things just bore me now.

Mom: It's called "maturing", Martin. Frankly, I'm shocked that you are capable of doing so. 

Just a friendly word of advice: What you're talking about is more commonly called: "Script format." Since that's the way scripts for stage plays have been written for centuries. I recommend you use that term from now on; I think most people will understand the reference as soon as they see it. "Play write dialogue" is an unusual phrasing, and can be confusing. (I'd never seen it called by that name before.)

I've occasionally seen big-name authors use "script format" for a conversational scene within a larger story which is mostly told in conventional prose. For instance, I'm sure Roger Zelazny did it that way at least once, in a scene towards the end of his novel Creatures of Light and Darkness. But Roger Zelazny was brilliant at what he did, and by the time he wrote that book, he'd already won some big awards (Hugos and Nebulas) for some of his previous stories, which shows that he had some grasp of what he could get away with, and could make SF/Fantasy fans (and his fellow professional writers) actually enjoy reading his attempts to be unconventional.

Also, since that scene came toward the end of the novel, his readers would already be well familiar with the established personalities and motives of each of the major characters involved, from things that had been spelled out for them in many earlier scenes, so it wasn't so important to "see their private thoughts" as they were speaking to one another in that single scene which was wrapping up some loose ends. 

Anyway, I'm not trying to tell you not to use script format. Mainly I just wanted to let you know what it was usually called.

Also, aside from the situations Fernicus mentioned in a post, I think I've seen script format used in a few other situations. For instance: the viewpoint character is eavesdropping on a conversation between two or more other people. (Perhaps a phone conversation, or perhaps he's literally hiding in the closet.) He can't see their faces or their hand gestures or anything they are doing; he only knows what he can hear. (Or perhaps he is playing back an audio recording from a conversation they had yesterday, and a bug caught the whole thing?)

In that situation, we might get that conversation rendered in script format, because the author wants to stress the point that the viewpoint character doesn't know what Professor Moriarty (for instance) looked like as he said certain words, nor how he was dressed, nor at whom he pointed as he was snapping out an order to one of his minions, etc. If Professor Moriarty says, "See this woman? Find her and kill her," the viewpoint character doesn't see the photograph, and doesn't know who the woman is -- he's "in the dark" just as much as the reader is, regarding which female character has aroused the villain's wrath. Script format can work there -- it stresses the point about the listener not really being part of the conversation, and not having any observations which need to be described to us about what was going on, beyond whatever he overhears.