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Dialogue and Description

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1/24/2013 18:22:42   

I roleplay a lot on these forums, and writing is an essential part of roleplaying. I've been wondering where should description end and where should it go. I seem to have thick paragraphs full of description at the top of a post and very slim paragraphs at the bottom of the post with little to no description. Is it generally okay to have thick description-filled sentences throughout, or is it customary to do what I currently do?

I might have a five to seven-line paragraph describing the setting with about seven more one-lined paragraphs below that for a conversation between two characters. I'd give an example, but for the life of me I got writer's bloc.

< Message edited by TJByrum -- 1/24/2013 18:23:25 >
DF AQW  Post #: 1
2/23/2013 10:30:52   
Retro The Watcher

It depends on what you are writing. I mean if you are writing a narrative to explain a certain character, place or scene, then yes, that is where most of your explanation will be. If you are making a first person novel such as a bibliography, then you should generally try to spread out description to keep people reading. But looking at what your trying to say, then yes, if you have a paragraph explaining a scene, then a dialog afterwards, that is fine because you have giving the scene and are now explaining something between said amount of characters.


< Message edited by Retro Gx -- 2/23/2013 10:31:27 >
Post #: 2
2/25/2013 9:34:02   

Descriptions generally function to help paint the setting, allowing your readers to better imagine the world that you're trying to imprint upon their minds. Of course, as Retro has pointed out, it really does depends on the particular chapter that you are working on.

For example, if you write a chapter about two characters discussing something in an inn room, descriptions can be minimal, as you are mainly focusing on the content of the discussion, especially if the entire chapter is only about the dialogue and the setting does not change. Naturally you could also describe the subtle actions and movements of the characters. After all people generally don't remain totally rigid when talking with one another. There should still be some descriptions in dialogue-oriented chapters.

On the other hand, if you were to write a chapter about say a trek through the forest, where the setting constantly changes, descriptions are vital as they serve to show the movement of the character and the scenery around him or her (else the chapter would merely be about the character moving from point A to point B).

With all that said, the important thing is finding the balance between description and dialogue and determining whether one of them should be focused more for that particular chapter. If you are worried that you have too much descriptions going on, just try reading the chapter and note whether or not the descriptions distract you from the actual plot.

< Message edited by Trainz_07 -- 2/25/2013 9:44:17 >
AQ  Post #: 3
2/25/2013 11:33:28   
How We Roll Winner

Actually, there's a finer catch to descriptions and dialogue. They are both highly situation sensitive.

For example, you are being chased on a busy street where there are lot of people around, the shops are bustling and you are running towards a deserted part of the city. If your pursuer is a trained assassin who is holding a chainsaw in his hand and is merely half a metre behind you, there is absolutely no way that you are supposed to get down to describing the streets and the shops. You'd rather describe the duration it'll take for your heart to explode with fear.

So that's one factor. Of course, the finer points are the nature of the pursuer, the weapon he's wielding and his distance from you.

Usually, authors don't venture that deep into the works opting to go for the general situation, the reason being it affects the Pacing of the story greatly. I won't go into deep here seeing as I am not a qualified literature teacher, nor am I a celebrated author, not yet at least.^^

Anyways, dialogues follow the same procedure. Take the same situation as I took above only that this time, there's two of you.

Assassin's Distance from you: 2 feet

You: Help...!!! No..!!! Help...!!

Assassin's distance from you: 1 metre

You to your brother: Faster...!!! Run faster...!!

Assassin's distance from you: A quarter mile

You to your brother: He's coming..! Hide somewhere.

Assassin's distance from you: 1 mile

You to your brother: Hey, he has a chainsaw. He's running at us. Go, go go. Run...!!

So you see, Distance is directly proportional to dialogue length. Again weapons, nature of pursuer are all factors, and in case of dialogues, play a more significant role than in case of Description.

So there, I am really putting myself in deep waters posting this here. I hope it helps readers.^^

Again, I am NOT an English teacher, nor am I a famous author. The information I've provided above is purely my own experience that I am sharing and should in no way be considered anything more, especially not a guide, unofficial or official.
DF MQ AQW  Post #: 4
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