Author Teach me Dialogues please
i've been learning how to write my own story for a while and shared it with my close reading friends. I haven't shared any here thoughts. but lately i've been stucks in making dialogues for my story. Especially when the mc is just a bystander and/or neither the character that talks play major role (or not yet) in the story. So, my story ended up with heavily narrative and i, myself, becoming more less and less motivated to continue. Here's a small paragraph on where i usually confused should i wrote the main idea of the talks would be as a narrative or should i make the character do the talking and fleshened out their reaction with a small naratives in between and after the dialogues?

Nevertheless, what matters more is my new teacher. I wonder who will it be? As I lost in thought, we had arrived to where the teacher had been waiting. What awaits us is a young man wearing a mage robe belonging to the royal family, the court mage. Seeing how he presented himself in front of mother and me, there is no doubt that you will think him as a good person with a goodwill. But he clearly not, not from the way he glanced at me back to my mother. Is he really the person that mother said to be my magic teacher?

Both of us gave our greeting to him befitting our status as a noble to him and he replied in similar ways. After that, mother and him had a talk about my schedules and the materials that he would teach to me. Before long, the talks became a casual chat between two nobles.

P.s: i know i broke a lot of narratives grammar, but most of the narratives are told from the main character inner thoughts instead of the actions.
Technically dialogue is the third version of writing that isn't poetry or prose, and it's used to give insight about a character. Do they have a thick accent? Are they poorly educated or highly educated? How do they speak and what words do they use? These are all meant to be handled to depict a character and flesh them out. Someone who says things clumsily or with too many words can show nervousness, or a character that's laconic can show confidence. @AirenxVia

I'd suggest reading what you wrote out loud and think to yourself if this is how you would say what's written, and then think about how you can shorten things-as people tend to speak with contractions or with as short of words as possible.

How I'd edit what you wrote would be along the lines of:
Nevertheless, my new teacher matters more. Who will it be? As I got lost in thought, we had arrived to where the teacher was waiting. What awaited us was the court mage, a young man in the royal family's mage robe. Seeing how he presented himself in front of us, there is no doubt that you would think of him as a person of goodwill. But not from the way he darted at me back and back to my mother. Was he really the good man my mother told me about?

Both of us an appropriate greeting befitting our statuses as a noble, and he responded in kind. After that, my mother talked with him about my schedules and the material of his curriculum. Before long, however, it just became a casual chat between two nobles.

It was a little clumsy, and felt too word-y. If I were to suggest anything, it was keep consistent tense and keep it so you can use the minimal amount of words to convey the feeling you're going for. Also use more precise diction, to convey the feelings at play.
Thanks for the advice, that really helped me not only with the dialogue problem, but also the way i write my narration. Man, there's a lot of dictions that i need to learn and get used to.

as for the way the narration was written, it is indeed a part of my amateurly writing and my training in the style i convey the narratives. but i also want to make the narratives to also become the aspect of the main character. As i'm conveying the MC as the type of person who thinks a lot and pretty much chatting with her mind most of the time.

Btw, do you have any recommendation of a good novel that have a good amount of dialogues between the characters? So far, most of my reading list only have dialogues that are so-so and only there to make things more lively.

Again thank you very much for your advice.
Thanks, and while it is kinda stereotypical, the best I can think of is The Great Gatsby @AirenxVia
@AirenxVia I see that you have begun your writing journey. Dialogue will eventually become the least of your problems as character arcs, plot holes, worldbuilding, etc will fill your head. But I do have one suggestion that never fails: subtext. Subtext is the implicit story you tell beneath your story. It makes your texts more flavourful and is basically a better way of story telling. Subtext can be told through narration, exposition, dialogue, and basically everything. Below's an example, the top paragraph tells everything explicitly while the bottom tells it through subtext.

Another tip: if the dialogue isn't essential to the story then cut it off. This actually applies to expositing worldbuilding and subplots as well. Does conversation tell new information? Does the conversation lead to an important plot point? Does the conversation reveal character motives, personality, or worldview? If not cut it as it dampens the pacing.
@Tamerlane Thanks i'll check it out later and research. Also, do you mind if i use your edited paragraph in my story?

Can't say that i had begun my writing journey. but, i won't say that wrong too. as it's actually been 2 years since i started writing, but i just started this year to actually put my effort in it.

That's true that when i write i can tell, feel to be exact, when or where i need to add more context of the narration through adding more details or the characters speech.

Subtext? that's actually pretty new for me. But i think i used it unconsciously sometimes in my writing and never actually used it. Though, it might be hard to implement it on my story, as it mainly told through the MC internal mind chat/monologues. But using it to write a side POV might be useful. Thanks for the wonderful advice.

So far my dialogues are mainly limited to conversations that will drove the characters motivation or action in the event that will be unfolded or just an explanatory about the previous paragraph to add more details. Like in this paragraphs

Last edited 7 mo ago by AirenxVia.
@AirenxVia I never seen someone try to write dialogue in English with Japanese filler words lol. Sounds awkward but if you're confident that you can pull it off then you can do it.

Although, thee dialogues don't seem like it flow well. I can't put my finger exactly on it.

Also I reccomend watching YouTubers centered around writing tips. They're both entertaining and educative. Hello Future Me has many videos on writing and worldbuilding. Overly Sarcastic Productions has many videos on writing tropes. Stoneworks World Building talks a lot about worldbuilding. Terrible Writing Advice advices you on what not to do.

Here's some vids I reccomend you to watch.

Just subscribe to the channels and watch one or two of the vids from the list and let the algorithm reccomend you more writing tips videos over time.
Go ahead. I would recommend an editor though because the grammar a bit...Weird. It mixes tenses and has a hard time flowing. Studying Latin has helped me with that. Keep in mind,
-Present tense signifies actions that are being carried out (I am doing it, You are doing it, he/she/it is doing it, etc.)
-Imperfect tense signifies incomplete actions or actions in the past that were being carried out (I was doing it, You were doing it, he/she/it was doing it, etc.)
-Perfect signifies complete actions or actions in that past that have been carried out (I did it, You did it, He/She/It did it, etc.)
-Pluperfect signifies a task that was completed at some earlier point then the tense used in the rest of the state (I had done it, You had done it, He/she/it had done it, etc.)
-Future perfect signifies a task that will have been done at some time in the future. (I will have done it, You will have done it, He/She/It will have done it, etc.)

Also note all of these are in Active voice (as opposed to passive which has its own equivalents) and are Indicative (As opposed to Subjunctive mood or Imperative), but you get the general idea

Unironically there's good podcast called "Every Frame A Pause" or "EFAP" about consistency and writing, but their podcasts can go absurdly long (10+ hours), so unless you have too much free time like I do, then I would be cautious. @DANDAN_THE_DANDAN

Also, perfect tense is my favourite tense. You can carry so many implications in such a few words.

The machine has been going since as long as anyone can remember.
The machine had been going since as long as anyone can remember.
The machine have had been going since as long as anyone can remember.

The first suggests that the machine is a thing that has existed for a very long time with a history that was silenced simply because the information was not passed down.
The second suggests that the machine had stopped working some time ago, a time not stated in the sentence and that it carried an important value otherwise no one would bother remembering it, which, again, have a history that was silenced because the information wasn't passed down.
The third suggests the second but "have had" implies that this event wasn't recent, be it a decade or a millennium ago.

Perfect tense is also how you get disasters like these.
James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher

And my other favourite English sentence, tho not perfect tense:
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo

English grammar is a daunting thing to learn. My suggestion is to just listen to a lot of English on youtube to build up your grammar intuition and then fill in the gaps of your knowledge by writing while Grammarly is on. And when you come across a situation where you're unsure why Grammarly is telling you that something is wrong (note: Grammarly isn't perfect so always double-check if you're not confident in Grammarly's correction) or if your intuition is telling you to do a grammar trick that you're not sure on why it works or if you want to do a Grammar trick but you're not sure if that grammar trick is correct then always google your grammar tricks. That's how I learned how to use perfect tenses correctly and it helped writing my essays by a ton.

Also, a funny vid that's actually helpful in learning future tense.
I am so very thankful that my educational experience didn't involve specifically memorizing the tenses beyond past/present/future, because that would have driven me insane.

Never think about tense names and just use them.

I know it's a bit awkward and uncomfortable to read. But for some reason i see japanese way of separating conversation and narration looks neat and cleaner and I'm more comfortable to write it like that well, for now I'm still trying to find my own ways to comfortably writing and learns on how to correctly use the words to conveying the story.

As for the tense, like i said before in my previous post. I'm trying to make the story flows and told from the mc inner thoughts and his/her self conversation with his/her own mind instead of being described directly. The catch here, just like you guys says, it can be a bit awkward and hard to make it flows right.

And as expected from seasoned ones. I still have a lot to learns and work with. Thank you very much for the advices and reference.

P.s.: Fortunately grammars, tenses and writings were my strong point since way back in primary/elementary schools. Though, i have to admit it's harder to actually implement for something that are not a hard and raw meaning sentences and since i got a job, i rarely practice it again. Welp, there's no way to improve, except train myself and learn from others.
Last edited 7 mo ago by AirenxVia.
Yep, never think about the tenses, just use them. Only try to find them if you felt something is wrong with your sentence.
@AirenxVia No prob, bob

@justforthelulz I'm lucky because Latin has a set amount of tenses for its moods and no more. You have a lot more flexibility as a translator

@DANDAN_THE_DANDAN There's a lot of jokes written into that, and yes, they have made a lot of jokes about the great electronic fap
@Tamerlane @AirenxVia @DANDAN_THE_DANDAN
Tenses and their multiple verb conjugations were the bane of my French language classes.
Probably explains why I pretty much gave up on continuing to learn French after high school.

This is what a latin verb chart looks like for the record. Note that it's not technically complete because it doesn't have passive infinitives, participles, imperative, or gerundives/suipine
i see, that's the same reason i dropped off my japanese class. 😅

damn, that's real complicated for me. although, the grammar constructions and the words form looks similiar to english. it's in another whole level for me, lol.

damn, my trained sleeping habit. Can't you at least woke me up on dawn, instead of in dead night.
@Tamerlane these days you can't even open a random forum discussion to see what people are talking about without getting latin classes flashbacks

Salve, discipulī latīnī! @pockettrash
@pockettrash @Tamerlane
Welp, time for the trusted Google Translate take care here.

I think i'll post another thread about the story later, once i can form the words for the ideas of the world i want to write. Please slap me with the critics and opinions when the times come.