|Here's what I've been up to "lately".|
The Sun and a StainIt rose from the dank earth, its skin ragged like a moulted root. It chaffed from the raw air. The scales fell away to leave weeping sores on its many limbs, which grasped and decayed the roots it escaped from. Dust met it and stuck in patches around the pincers that snapped at the sunlight like an enemy. The rays balked, as if scared. The creature hissed, and reared its head to challenge the sun.The Sun and a Stain by Goldfish-In-Space
"Lysander, look. Look at that. Auh! It's disgusting; kill it. Kill it please."
The elf regarded the eldritch horror, and then his boyfriend. Lysander stomped the creature with the heel of his boot, and winced when it popped, covering the leather with something purple and caustic.
"It's ruining my boots," he said.
"I have a wonderful ointment for leather in the caravan," said Fleance, "I can get a stable boy to apply it when we're at the inn, probably."
Fleance tucked his hair behind his ears and shot Lysander a look. What good was it if everyone thought they were just extraordinarily beautifu
What they do to KingsThrop, Maine, is a fishing village that subsides mostly on tourism. The last census reported about 4000 full time residents and another handful of part time residents that keep the scenery hungry tourists housed, fed and happy. The brightly painted storefronts of the main drag hold enough local colour to attract most kinds of people. The cheery woman running the consignment and used book store gives interesting directions to straightforward destinations, and the owner of Wharfside Bar and Inn offers personal boat tours for the right price. The man asleep on the bench in the sun tells tall tales about the ocean and surrounding woods. All three go to one of the two bakeries in town and direct the tourists to the other. A few years back, the town went through the Co-Op and had the sewers redone to stop the streets from becoming highways of newspaper boats and the imaginations of young boys. The Wharfside Bar owner tells a story about newspaper boats, and then laughs if you ask if he'll haWhat they do to Kings by Goldfish-In-Space
In Which Our Heroine Takes Action She wasn't sold, even if the decision had already been made. Pouting was no longer affirmative action, so she glanced out the window and tried to remember if it was rosebushes her mother had planted or something closer to harmless. Since her father had caught her with a few penny dreadfuls featuring woman escaped from their domestic destinies, thorned shrubbery had popped up under any terrace remotely climbable, jumpable or escapable by any imagining. The unattended trips to the Terrace Way Market had also stopped. At least they hadn't burned her books, or even looked through them. She decided the calibre of shrubbery didn't matter, because five petticoats and the overdress would be a fine barrier against thorns. In the back of an overlooked and overused novel was a diagram from a previous owner and in the girl's hands were every bit of linen she could smuggle into her room without it being missed.In Which Our Heroine Takes Action by Goldfish-In-Space
She wanted to see something clockwork. Something bigger than the mechanical kitten her f
Diary Entry of a Nervous PersonIn three minutes, Kayla would walk in the door. She would look down, brush the hair our of her face and look around her. The light in the hallway would be out, so she's flick it on.Diary Entry of a Nervous Person by Goldfish-In-Space
Her voice would echo nervously over the hardwood. I'd emerge from the kitchen, wearing the nightgown she bought for my birthday and look her up and down.
"You said you'd be home by seven at the latest."
Two minutes from now would be nine twenty three, so that's what time it would be. I'd look at the analogue in the kitchen. She would look at the digital on her wrist.
But she doesn't wear the digital watch anymore because she broke the strap last week and hasn't got a new one. She' probably just late getting off work.
In four hours Kayla would turn the key as quietly as possible. Her makeup would be a mess, like someone else's hands... or lips... had been playing there. Her hair would be tied back and she wouldn't flick on the hallway light as she snuck to the bathroom where I would be sitting on the
Self RiteThe plane stretched in front of her like still water, reflecting the sky. It showed the girl her skin. Her sister's face bore a scar between the lip and chin. Before she had made it, she had been the prettiest girl in their town. Now she was still the prettiest girl in their town, with a scar on her face. The girl was unmarked as the glass plane. In her hand she gripped a bit of tempered steel and fidgeted in her skirts.Self Rite by Goldfish-In-Space
"You have to take it off," said her sister. She did, throwing the fabric to the ground. Her skirt rested on one of the stones that ringed the plane, and everything else followed. In darkness, she looked like a moon child. Something dark dribbled down the girl's leg and her sister nodded.
The girl took her first step and felt the obsidian hold her. The force beneath her made her shudder, even before the breeze brought the smell of river to her. It caught on the blood between her thighs, tugging her forward. The second step held, and the mountain glass consid
Blood BlueI'm not bothered by the sight of blood. Emptied from my cup it hits white porcelain and is black except in afterimage. It fades like a stain a rose would make. What bothers me is that I should, according to many, be bothered by it. Why? I'm certain my mouth-- the things that go on there!-- is by their own definition of disgusting, more so. No one blinks as I absently chew a finger, buffer it with a wipe on my shirt and then hand them what they asked for. The taboo of blood and vaginas in larger; it's more. The very end and beginning of life is tied up in it, and somewhere along the way, someone influential confused awe for shame. My mother sat me down once, and talked to me about blood, so I never thought my fertility would be blue. This is a mistake of many young girls; a marker-- one of them-- of a sterile culture. Maybe if I bleed on it though, it will spring to life.Blood Blue by Goldfish-In-Space
|Here's what I've been up to "lately".|
The North doesn't have TeethWhen the striking red sun of dawn appeared in Jack Fliften Aplen's foggy eyes, birds chirped all around in high and low tones, the whistling of the wind caused his long ears to ring, and the crisp cold air continued to nip at his frost bit skin. He flexed his fingers and could not feel a thing. He fell asleep in the midst of a coniferous forest. He already knew he was in Gishmimimis, but in what part?
A breath of panic escaped his throat as Fliften lifted himself to a sitting position. His hands fumbled at his person, groping for any kind of compass or map or device of direction-keeping, and when he ran his fingers over one of the pockets on his long brown and gold-trimmed coat, he could hear the crinkling of paper. After two immediate tries shoving his hand into said pocket to retrieve what was making the noise, he did. The paper he pulled out was folded up, so he unfolded it into something larger. It was a map! But was it of this region
Three StrikesJudy took a deep breath and popped open the top of another Red Bull. She could hear one of her nine children crying from the hallway, but she just shook her head. It was only nine in the morning, and already she had played piano for the church’s 2 a.m. early risers’ service, gone shopping, planted six new vegetables in her personal sustainment garden, mowed the lawn, and fixed the kitchen table. How much more could she subject herself to, what else was there to do? Her book club did not meet until eleven, and she had already read the section seventeen times. Once she fed Joshua, there would be nothing. Maybe she could lie down for just a minute.
No, no she could not. Judy already had two strikes on her card. If she would go idle one more time, they would terminate her. Who would take care of her children? Her husband had already been terminated two years ago following a biking accident that left him bedridden. They had no other immediate family, and her oldest child was on
|Sometimes I try to give constructive advice.|
I usually accomplish being a jerk. A jerk with jargon.
Uhg, even worse.
Warning: "I-Statements" ahead! |
I try to make up for my lack of genuine genius with a lot of obsessive work on my writing. I think it's turning out to be a pretty good plan so far. I tend to think anything that lets me sit hunched over my computer chain tea-drinking as the sun beams down outside is pretty good.
I will critique any writing, you just have to ask me!
You may notice that in the original publication of Hitch Hiker's Guide single quotes are used around the speech, but here I have shamelessly converted them to double quotes. This is because I am Canadian and have bad habits. In Canada and America double quotes are the standard around speech, and in England single quotes are standard. These are the only countries that exist. Neither are incorrect, but it's good to pick one and stick to it.
Punctuation happens in and outside of quotations, more or less the same as it would if they weren't there. There are a few rules around punctuation where the two meet.
"So," continued Ford Prefect, "if you would just like to come over here and lie down..."
Commas punctuate tags. The first comma is attached to the "so" and is inside the quotations. The second comma is attached to the tag and is outside them. Here the tag interrupts the speech at a pause where a comma would have been, but this is also how you punctuate a tag that interrupts speech where a full stop would be.
"Ah, I'm sorry," said Ford, "perhaps I hadn't made myself fully clear...
Here the "Ah, I'm sorry" could be it's own thought. It's tempting to put a period there, but that's wrong. Always use a comma!
Except in a situation like this: "What?" said Mr Prosser.
What's a rule without an exception? Here there's different punctuation going on. The question mark stands in for the comma, because we need to know that "What?" is a question. Doing something like "What?," seems ridiculous, so we forgo the comma.
What is a tag, anyway? A tag is a marker of who is speaking. "said Mr Prosser" is a tag. "Continued Ford Prefect" is also a tag. Tags can be an indicator of how something is being said, or just there to keep track of who is speaking. The fancier the tag, the more likely it is your reader will notice it, which is something you should have in the back of your mind when you write them. Do you want to outright say how someone is speaking, or do you want the speech to indicate that on its own? Usually, strong dialogue doesn't need wordy or flashy tags, just the occasional marker so the reader can keep track of who is speaking. Sometimes you can even forget them.
How do you create strong dialogue?
The difference is in the words. Try this:
"Are you sure you know what you're doing?" said Trillian, peering nervously into the darkness, "We've been attacked once already, you know."
"Look kid, I promise you the live population of this planet is nil plus the four of us, so come one, lets get on in there. Er, hey, Earthman..."
"Arthur," said Arthur.
"Yeah, could you just sort of keep this robot with you and guard this end of the passageway? Okay?"
"Guard?" said Arthur, "What from? You just said there was no one here."
"Yeah, well, just for safety, okay?" said Zaphod.
"Whose? Yours or mine?"
"Good lad. Okay, here we go."
There are four three characters in that conversation: Zaphod, Arthur, Trillian and Marvin. Knowing that, you can probably figure out who is speaking, even if the speech is untagged. Why is that? All of them are speaking, but their speech is all different. It's in what they say as well as how they say it. Zaphod calls Arthur "Earthman", and Arthur corrects him. When Arthur is annoyed, he speaks differently than when Zaphod or Trillian is. Marvin is always annoyed, but again his speech is easy to pick out without tags, which is how you can tell he's not actually speaking here.
The words each character uses to express themselves are different. That's one of the keys of unique dialogue. You need to get behind your character and understand how they would express themselves. Everyone thinks to use different words, and everyone puts them together differently. Everything can mediate how a person speaks in real life, and this applies to your characters as well. Where they grew up, how much formal education they have had, what kind of people they associate with, all can determine how they speak, but there are no sure markers.
Writing in a thick accent is usually a bad idea. It makes the dialogue inaccessible and when it's not done perfectly cheapens the piece it's in. Accents are more complicated than just the superficial sound of them; what makes them is in the syntax, the colloquialisms and the little details of speech. You can usually get an accent across without resorting to phonetics, and your piece will be better off for it.
One of the reasons dialogue can start sounding the same between characters is that in the context of a story, it is more than just the characters speaking. Dialogue gets stuff done. It effects the pace of a scene and can be a fast and easy way to communicate important information to your readers. Dialogue can help set tone and is a huge deal for characterization. It's integral, really. When it needs to do all that stuff though, sometimes the voices of the characters get lost. That's one of the distinctions between workable and good dialogue. Good dialogue checks all the boxes.
A Note about Dialogue in Poetry
Poetry often uses dialogue as well as prose, however, there are no rules in poetry there isn't a clear standard for how this is done. People have pulled off straight up, grammatically correct dialogue, while others have used systems just off of that. Others have forgone anything but contextual indication. It's really up to the author how they want to communicate speech inside their poetry. Content-wise, dialogue in poetry works the same as prose; it develops speakers, changes pace and communicates action, it just doesn't have to be in any specific format. A good guideline for this is within any piece is sticking to one format of dialogue. This helps readers understand what is an is not speech in your piece, because however you choose to do it, it's the same all the way through.
Some things to think about when you write Dialogue
Try asking yourself some of these questions (and more, if you think you need them!) when you're going over your dialogue:
Hopefully these will get you thinking and on your way to writing awesome dialogue!