First person dialogues

PdW

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Jan 3, 2019
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Hi all,

This is my first attempt to write a novel.
I noticed that I was drawn immediately to the first person perspective.
What I am struggling with is the dialogue.
The intro reveals a mysterious event that happened 7 years ago, told by the main character in the first person past tense.
I am starting the first chapter with the main character being interviewed by mysterious people after an attack.
This dialogue reveales the attack.
However, I want this interview to be experienced by the reader as present(the reader is experiencing a scene where the main character is not narrating the events.
so what is happening is happening now without any explanation.
I feel like I am stuck because it feels as if I'm breaking immersion when nearing the end of this chapter when i'm switching to his thoughts on the events that occured.
What bothers me most about this dialogue is that to make it clear for the reader I'm not putting both question and answer on the same line.

"How are you"
"I'm fine, thank you"

instead of

"How are you" , "I'm fine , thank you"

Also I am wondering what are the so called boundaries of writing first person.
Is it ok to switch between the main character narrating the event and the main character experiencing the actual event happening (non narrative)
i don't want to write the whole book or even chapter narrating everything.
but also i dont want to be stuck in the narrow first person experiencing the events live.
i would like to smoothly transition between the two making it very immersive, if this is even possible.
like i said this is my first attempt and i would like to explore the boundaries of this first person POV.
 
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Jo Zebedee

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blah - flags. So many flags.
Hi - stick around for 30 posts and then you can pop it into critiques for feedback. On first glance you probably need to add ‘beats’of action, and some exposition/thoughts to break up the dialogue.

Also - I’d ditch the prologue, if it were me.

Welcome to the Chrons :)
 

PdW

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Hi - stick around for 30 posts and then you can pop it into critiques for feedback. On first glance you probably need to add ‘beats’of action, and some exposition/thoughts to break up the dialogue.

Also - I’d ditch the prologue, if it were me.

Welcome to the Chrons :)
Thanks i will look into that (y)
about the 30 days posting thing.
Do i need to post 30 threads before i can ask for critiques for feedback, or is that a section that i can get acces to after 30 posts?
Not sure what you mean exactly.

Happy to be here :)
 

Jo Zebedee

Aliens vs Belfast.
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blah - flags. So many flags.
Thanks i will look into that (y)
about the 30 days posting thing.
Do i need to post 30 threads before i can ask for critiques for feedback, or is that a section that i can get acces to after 30 posts?
Not sure what you mean exactly.

Happy to be here :)
Hi yes you need to make 30 posts and then you can ask for critique but the play forums don’t count towards that. In the meantime, have a look in crits and see what others have had fed back about dialogue. It’s okay to do crits for others too - but useful to read the stickies first :)
 

Brian G Turner

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I'm not putting both question and answer on the same line.

"How are you"
"I'm fine, thank you"

instead of

"How are you" , "I'm fine , thank you"
You're correct - you want different speakers on different lines, otherwise it may cause confusion. This is the way it is usually done in published books. :)
 

scarpelius

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I will not start the interview with
"How are you"
"I'm fine, thank you"

It is too common and way too polite.
Your interview looks more like is taken by an investigator, possible police, possible other law enforcing organization. If that is the case, then there should be a atmosphere of hostility between the two.
 

PdW

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I will not start the interview with
"How are you"
"I'm fine, thank you"

It is too common and way too polite.
Your interview looks more like is taken by an investigator, possible police, possible other law enforcing organization. If that is the case, then there should be a atmosphere of hostility between the two.
thank you for your feedback.
This was a small example adding to the actual interview which was removed afterwards.
but the basic concept of what i wanted to know is clear.
 

AlexH

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I agree with Jo about adding beats. Reams of dialogue don't generally make a good read, though there are bound to be exceptions. It could be difficult to read if nothing breaks it up.

Adding actions could help with a few things including orienting the reader to who is speaking and showing how the speaker feels (e.g. nerves, their personality - do they scratch, sit up straight, stutter etc.).
 

Juliana

Juliana Spink Mills. "No capes!"
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Adding actions could help with a few things including orienting the reader to who is speaking and showing how the speaker feels (e.g. nerves, their personality - do they scratch, sit up straight, stutter etc.).
Exactly. So, for instance,

"How are you?" The investigator tapped the microphone, making sure it was on.
I had a feeling the politeness was just for show, but I answered in the same friendly tone. "I'm fine, thank you."
 

PdW

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Hi Alex, Julia.

Thanks, I used beats and actions eventually and it did improve the dialogue, it's alive:lol: small example,

“Yes.. it felt like he stabbed me, or he tried to stab me, I’m not sure, I don’t know officer” Something about her.. the way she sat down and made herself comfortable.
“Emily.. you can call me Emily” she looked at me patiently and smiled a little vulnerable.

Atleast this gave me the push I needed to get the first 2 chapters going.
I know a bit better now, how I want the story to be told.

will get some books written in the same style one of these days

thanks for the feedback!
 

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