Posts tagged ‘dialogue’

September 12, 2011

What the F*** did you Say?

I’d be interested to know what people think about this.

Swearing is a part of colloquial language, whether we think it’s appropriate or not. And whatever is true of spoken language will find some way into dialogue embedded in a narrative. I think that swearing is an important part of language, making the meaning of a threat heavier and causing insult and often shock when used in certain situations. All of this stuff is good for the writer.

The use of swear words can be effective to arrest the attention of the audience. Blue words tend to leap off the page. It can also create a shock, particularly if it is used in a social situation that prohibits “improper” language.

For dialogue, swearing is particular important. If you wish to directly quote obscenities rather than avoiding it with a “He cursed” or “She swore profusely”, you should not water down your dialogue. If it’s a rough, male character, he is more likely to say “bugger off” or “fuck off” than “oh, go away”. Similar he would curse saying “oh shit”, not “dash it” or “fiddlesticks”. Language causing less offence can be equally effective, especially if your characters use it often, such as “damn” and “blast”, which have the connotations of swearing attached rather than slapping you in the face. In contrast to this, gentry at a dinner with ladies would not use anything so blunt as that mentioned above, choosing more of a eupemism.

As with all “rules” of writing, there are ways of using a set “rule” against itself for a certain purpose. An upper class character or dame using excessively rough language is a source of comedy as well as an interesting contrast. I would normally suggest using swearing in narrative sparingly and in dialogue too. An exception to this rule is if you would like a really rough character who uses swearing consistently.

Your audience must always be considered when writing with the intention of using obscene language. Having said that, there was a “children’s” book (really for the parents) called “Go the Fuck to Sleep”, which shows me up quite well in terms of censoring your audience.

Tell me what you think, if you agree with what I said or if you think other things about it. And if you use swearing to a certain degree or try to abstain from it.

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September 4, 2011

Know What I’m Saying?

I once tried to decide what my “forte” was in writing. When you declare that you are a writer you get asked what you write, it would make sense to say what you like and what you’re (supposedly) good at.

I originally thought it was well constructed description. But description bores me, and general it slows down a story. There are too many cliches in description. (I do not consider cliches a complete enemy. Much original writing can come from identifying and changing it so that it is new.)Well done description can be something to behold, if it moves on with the narrative as well.I decided I was not so good at this..

Once finished with description, I moved onto the opposite; action. Describing action in its upmost detail to give across a blockbuster-like thriller. Films are not books. Action is not limited to shooting (I spent a lot of bullets and killed many characters before realising this).

I have settled, on dialogue. I may write a separate most on dialogue (because I like short posts and this is looking too long for me). Dialogue is immediate, it is action, it can convey ideas, thoughts, character, move on a narrative. I think it is brilliant, and may eleborate on that in future.

You may not agree with me, but we never got anywhere by agreeing.

What’s your forte?