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Thread: character, remembering dialogue.. please help

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    character, remembering dialogue.. please help

    i am writing something now and my character is remembering what she said and waht was said to her the night before, i am writing this in in present 3rd person, but she remembering so thats past- a few issues with tense and the quotations... something like this-


    She remembers, being alone, in the crowded pub, the DJ mixing hip hop, RnB and funk, moving the pub in a united rhythm. Her breathing getting fast, muscles tense, jaw flexing. Then she was calling to him from the car park below his flat.


    “I need my bag, its got my medication in it, Jack, throw down my bag. I need my medication.”

    Her memory was broken, big gaps, full of events, just beyond her reach. She was calling up to the window her bag had dropped from.

    “ Your a snitch, I have blown your cover. They tried to shoot me. They tried to shoot me.”




    as you can see i ahve put the dialogue in quotations... is this right? i am not 100% comfatable with this....any advice on that and tenses


    thank you

    loxx
    Last edited by loxx; 08-02-2010 at 01:58 AM.

  2. #2
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    Loxx,

    Welcome!

    It sounds like you are talking about a flashback.

    You said you are writing in third person, past tense. However, if she remembers something, it is in third person, present tense. Down further, you write in past tense (her memory was). You want to be able to keep your tense straight and to be consistent throughout.

    In a flashback, you transition in and out of the flashback, and then any dialogue goes into quotes, as if it's happening right now.

    I don't mean to offend, but you might want to take a look at your sentence structure, as well as spelling and grammar in your excerpt. Just keep practicing your writing. I would suggest you post some excerpts in the critique section as well.
    Last edited by Susan Littlefield; 08-02-2010 at 02:06 AM.
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  3. #3
    Danthia
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    You could do it that way, or you could put it in italics.

    Something Bob said last night flashed through her mind. You can't lie to her forever, Jane.

    It depends if you want to show the scene like a flashback (as mentioned above) or show it as a memory.

    Or, you can even do both and format it like regular dialog, but make it all italics. I actually do that for certain important memory/flashback scenes.

  4. #4
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    thank you both-

    susan this is far far from something i would post for crit - i have already posted in share your work... but after i have worked on it, not just when i have bashed it out and realised im not sure how to do this, but please look for my posts in share your work sci-fi and mainstream forums- i would appriciate your crit on them-

    Danthia- thanks italics is what i was looking for, as it is a memory and a sketchy one at that!

    thanks again
    loxx

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    ok right diallouge in italics.. what abou remembered action i.e.-

    He was saying. Your showing yourself up, stop this. I can’t deal with this, with you. (Then he left.)

    cant seem to paste italics but what about the bit in brackets !

  6. #6
    storm central stormie's Avatar
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    Remembered action (flashback) would be:

    He had said, "You're showing yourself up. Stop this! I can't deal with this, with you." Then he left.

    For the above, you wouldn't need italics.

    For what Danthia posted:
    Something Bob said last night flashed through her mind. You can't lie to her forever, Jane.
    (In the above, it's a good idea to have the dialogue flashback in italics, as Danthia shows.)

  7. #7
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    She remembers going to the pub with her boyfriend, Jack, it was busy. Friday night, the rotation of her drinks was only halted by the queue at the bar. They argued, she was shouting, her stomach twisting with temper. He was saying. Your showing yourself up, stop this! I can’t deal with this, with you. Then he left.

    larger bit... because im getting confused- this way you can see how much is memory.

    thanks loxx

  8. #8
    storm central stormie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxx View Post
    She remembers going to the pub with her boyfriend, Jack, it was busy. Friday night, the rotation of her drinks was only halted by the queue at the bar. They argued, she was shouting, her stomach twisting with temper. He was saying. Your showing yourself up, stop this! I can’t deal with this, with you. Then he left.
    Slightly rewritten:
    She remembers going to the pub with her boyfriend, Jack. It was busy. Friday night, and the rotation of her drinks was only halted by the queue at the bar. They argued, she was shouting, her stomach twisting with temper. He was saying, "You're showing yourself up, stop this! I can’t deal with this, with you." Then he left.

    In this instance, since you established the flashback, and you write: He was saying,... you don't need to put anything in italics.

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    brilliant thanx

  10. #10
    Around and About SuperModerator Birol's Avatar
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    Loxx, was that the actual dialogue or was that just a quickly written example.

  11. #11
    Makes useful distinctions Lady Ice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxx View Post
    i am writing something now and my character is remembering what she said and waht was said to her the night before, i am writing this in in present 3rd person, but she remembering so thats past- a few issues with tense and the quotations... something like this-


    She remembers being alone in the crowded pub, the DJ mixing hip hop, RnB and funk moving the pub in a united rhythm. Her breathing getting fast, muscles tense, jaw flexing. Then she was calling to him from the car park below his flat.


    I need my bag, it's got my medication in it, Jack, throw down my bag. I need my medication.

    Her memory was broken, big gaps, full of events, just beyond her reach. She was calling up to the window her bag had dropped from.

    You're a snitch, I have blown your cover. They tried to shoot me. They tried to shoot me.




    as you can see i ahve put the dialogue in quotations... is this right? i am not 100% comfatable with this....any advice on that and tenses


    thank you

    loxx
    Certainly got a style to it, although the constant commas (yes, I know they're supposed to replicate her seizure/attack but in the dialogue, they're a little annoying).

    It seems okay to me- it's a flashback being told in the present tense (present tense used to describe past events is what's called the historic/dramatic present)
    "We work in the dark--we do what we can--we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art." (Henry James)

    "Either you think--or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you." (Tender is The Night)

    http://stagebystage.weebly.com/

  12. #12
    Banned
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    I think that italics are a good choice and help keep things from getting confused. Personally, I really get stressed out when trying to write in flashbacks. Things tend to get tangled and it can become hard to keep things understandable. If it is a sudden flashback and relatively short, I like to put it in italics. If the flashback has been established and is longer, I just use regular text.

  13. #13
    Danthia
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    You could do remembered actions in italics if they're part of a larger piece.

    Bob spotted the cracked vase on the mantle. Jane's favorite. She'd been so excited when he gave it to her.

    "I love it," she cried. She jumped into his arms and knocked the vase over.It cracked in half, the two chunks rolling to opposite sides of the table.

    "We can fix it," she said, laughing.

    They'd glued it back together, and she'd said it made it all the more special. If only he could have glued her back together when she'd broken.

    You'd only italicize the "memory" parts, as if your POV was actively playing that memory in his head. Otherwise, just use regular part tense language like the third para there.

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