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Brand Sanderson Lecture 10: Dialogue Mechanics (2/8)

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See the entire class in one place with notes at http://www.writeaboutdragons.com/home/brandon_w2012/ Help us caption & translate this video! http://amara.org/v/CVf1/
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Text Comments (39)
3:36 (16 days ago)
HELLO MR COLE
Chiky Scares You (1 month ago)
i would had asked this: in a scene with multiple characters, how do you avoid saying "said" too often? If we have 5 characters in the scene, all talking, saying "said" too often makes it look too monotone and repetitive, while not addressing who said what could be confusing for the reader. In these cases is where i use the saidboukisms, but, is there another way to do this effectively?
Chiky Scares You (16 days ago)
+3:36 my method is using the saidbookism as well as actions before the characters talk, so it doesn't get monotonous
3:36 (16 days ago)
There is another way
Chasing the Murdered (4 months ago)
Heaven dyslexia and writing is so hard.
Chasing the Murdered (4 months ago)
Can you do another video with actually written out dialogue
NihilisticEntropy (5 months ago)
Be my daddy, Brandon!
mineonlyhooves (1 year ago)
That fuckin hat...
Dakota Baker (3 years ago)
One day I want to meet this man. And on that day I want to sit in a comfortable chair with my Starwars socks on, my Jurassic Park boxers pressed and ironed and a cup of warm coffee in my hand. I want to take a sip of that coffee lean across the table, hold out my hand and shake Mr. Sanderson's hand and say "Thank you."
privateNukem (6 months ago)
Fuck, you killed me.
Gurucha (2 years ago)
He'll cough into that hand and hand it a gummy bear.
Draugo (3 years ago)
The main problem I have with Brandon's approach to attributions is that they might be invisible on the page but on audio books you notice every one of them and they get really annoying really fast. In my mind that's the main difference between Robert Jordan and Brandon. Listening to the early Wheel of Time books I'm pretty sure there's less than 10 attributions per book and instead you get the speaker from context clues which sounds very natural. Listening to Brandon's books (including the Wheel of Time books) dialogue is basically "X said, Y said, X said, Y said, Z said, X said...". You can pretty much tell which dialogues in Wheel of Time are written by Brandon and which are the rare snippets left by Robert Jordan by how many attributions there are in the dialogue.
Michael Mano (3 days ago)
I needed an audio book for that comment
Geordin Soucie (9 months ago)
I need to look into this! I feel like certain types of people read the “saids” but I have to do more science.
Retro Workshop (1 year ago)
I hate too many tags, as well. Very boring. But, of course, it is better than somebody short of mastery trying to leave out every tag because you simply get lost.
sqdtnz (3 years ago)
There's also something like... direct versus indirect speech, if I remember correctly... Which is about whether you actually write the speech/dialogue, or just 'summarize' it, or parts of it, like: "Hi there", I said. "Hey, how are you?", she replied Becomes: When I greeted her she asked me how I am Ignore the stupid nature of that example, but I can't find much about this 'technique'. Any advice on it?
Lego Brickology (2 years ago)
You note that there are still ten words in each, whilst you may feel the former goes on for longer, the latter is passive and telling rather than showing, I think we are to use the former.
d' Arouet (2 years ago)
The second one is passive, use the first, in 99% of the times.
SaddenedSoul (3 years ago)
+sqdtnz Months later, I know, but I think it depends on the circumstances of the dialogue. If it's a character retelling a scene you've already shown, for example, then there's no need for the play-by-play dialogue unless another character responds to it in an important way. Insignificant, conversational dialogue can also be glossed over--unless, again, the exchange teaches us something special about the characters. Personally, I just use my ear for a lot of these and cut accordingly.
Dave Buehler (3 years ago)
+sqdtnz I prefer the direct dialogue. It feels more engaging, more like "showing." Indirect dialogue feels more like "telling." Just my opinion though.
Caleb Smith (4 years ago)
sweet outfit 
mat7cut (4 years ago)
Does that one kid who clearly is just asking questions to sound interested annoy anyone else?
Fangornmmc (5 years ago)
@Alvosploio a beat is something like: 'Carin grinned' or 'James smiled'
Garv the Gamer (5 years ago)
What is a "beat"?
Mist Spirit (6 months ago)
Retro Workshop Very Helpful
Retro Workshop (1 year ago)
He means descriptive beat. Namely, in place of dialogue tags, 'she said': 'I may just.' Lucy flung her arm at his face. 'I may just.'
Astariol (6 years ago)
I think Rowling's use of "book-isms" makes sense given her younger readership.
Clem Clemmie (6 years ago)
I was curious about the use of 'replied' in Brandon's work, so I did a word search. He uses 'replied' as a tag at least 39 times in Way of Kings. He used it a total of 35 times in the Mistborn trilogy. So it seems like he is actually using it more. He also seems to like 'hissed' as a Said Bookism.
Retro Workshop (1 year ago)
Of course, he may be using the noun form of 'hiss'. :P
Maerahn (1 year ago)
I've been told 'hissed' is only an appropriate one to use if what's being said has a lot of 's' sounds in it, like, "Seriously." If the words being 'spoken' have no 's' sounds in them it's impossible to 'hiss' them - the shape your mouth makes when you hiss means you couldn't pronounce non-'s' words properly, if at all.
Clem Clemmie (6 years ago)
The point is to use a tag that doesn't call attention to itself. Dialog tags aren't supposed to be 'interesting' to read, they are only there to identify the person speaking. Some think that you need your tags to be different each time so it isn't boring and repetitive. But simple tags allow the reader to read the attribution quickly (as if it wasn't there) so they focus on the dialog. An unusual tag can pull the readers focus away from the important dialog and stop the flow. Hope that helps.
Mist Spirit (6 months ago)
That is brilliant. I suppose somebody could call attention to tags to be really different, but a lot of writing is focused on the what is being said. Maybe use descriptive words on how it is being said rather than tags. Or not, I don’t know. I just don’t like attention grabbing tags.
Daniel Mullins (1 year ago)
Stephen King specifically calls this out and recommends to keep it simple.
mrcloudlion (6 years ago)
I don't know if i understand. So your supposed to use 'Said' fairly often for your audience to skip over them when they read?
Geordin Soucie (9 months ago)
Use “said” to make sure people know who is talking. Take the word out if you can but It is better to use “said” too much than have people confused as to who is talking. Alternatives for “said” are unnecessary and should be used only in rare circumstances.
Bobby H (1 year ago)
yes
drewavera (6 years ago)
Great information! Thanks for posting
oberoth111 (6 years ago)
I have taken 2 creative writing classes and neither of them explained this stuff in detail so thank you for putting this up.
fernandomgm (6 years ago)
Thanks a lot! Great as usual.

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