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Dialogue (Elements of Fiction Writing)

3.30  ·  Rating Details  ·  124 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
This book discusses and demonstrates the power of dialogue in fiction. So whether you write novels, short stories, or scripts, you'll benefit from all the different purposes and techniques of dialogue writing the author illustrates in these very pages.
Hardcover, 118 pages
Published May 15th 1989 by Writer's Digest Books
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The book is written in dialogue, and bad dialogue at that. Not very helpful.
Jan 06, 2015 Nannah rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This was pretty decent.

I thought the book didn't really deliver what it promised on the cover (i.e. "How to get your characters talking to each other in a way that vividly reveals who they are, what they're doing, and what's coming next in your story"), even if it did have some useful information. Most of the formatting/grammatical issues that it covered I already knew about, which is why I didn't pick out a book on dialogue's structure and where to put quotation marks, etc.

I was very glad tha
Aug 22, 2014 Justin rated it it was ok
Shelves: writing
Dialogue reads fast and so does this book. Written in Socratic dialogue, Turco and his fictional buddy Fred Foyle discuss dialogue. The book's five chapters cover: Definitions, speech in narration, diction, types of speech, and genre dialogue. The book didn't offer much than I already know aside from the occasional tidbit like British formatting using single quotes. I've learned more about dialogue from other writing books dealing with other elements of fiction, and online resources. I wouldn't ...more
Dec 21, 2015 DougInNC rated it it was ok
The author creatively writes nearly the entire book in dialogue with a goal to explain writing dialogue for fiction. His goal is only loosely met.

Significant time is spent on aspects of story telling other than dialogue, such as subject, theme, narration, exhibition, scene setting, pacing, etc. Further, it seems that "explanation" is not the preponderance of this work when the focus is turned to dialogue. Some time is spent in idle chat between the characters conversing, which earns credit for
Jul 26, 2008 Hilary rated it did not like it
Terrible! The author attempts to explain how dialogue works... in the form od a book-length dialogue. Barf. Do not read this book. If I could give this book negative stars I would.
Kevin Orland
May 15, 2015 Kevin Orland rated it did not like it
Shelves: stopped-reading
Couldn't make it through more than 10 pages. The whole thing is written as a dialogue between the author and some fictional guy with questions about how to write dialogue. The gimmick just didn't work, and the failed attempts at humor and cleverness obscured whatever wisdom the author may have had to impart. I guess I'll have to keep looking for a good book on how to write dialogue.
Apr 04, 2013 Devon rated it liked it
Shelves: how-to-write
Turco has plenty of solid advice on dialogue here, more than you can pick up from a generalized "how to write fiction" book. The written format is entirely in Socratic dialogue, which is a bit unusual...some thoughts on that:

PROS: The format makes it more entertaining and faster reading. There are plenty of examples of applying his lessons to dialogue, since the book is literally 100% dialogue.

CONS: About half the book is conversational filler, so in that sense it's not faster reading at all. Th
Dec 06, 2014 Nizar rated it did not like it
A really bad book. very messy and not enough examples. I felt lost and couldn't wait to put it down.
Oct 23, 2015 Kate rated it did not like it
I found the tone of the book so obnoxious that I didn't finish. Not at all helpful.
Jay Ant
Aug 12, 2015 Jay Ant rated it liked it
Creative how it's written as a giant dialogue, but I was hoping for a typical reference book.
Mark  Thomas
Apr 28, 2013 Mark Thomas rated it liked it
Shelves: writing-books
A book on how to write dialogue, written in dialogue format. It was a novel idea that worked fairly well. My only reservation is that many of the examples were not clearly defined for me, and I found myself not quite getting the author's point. It is a very short book, and perhaps not the best book on dialogue out there.
Jun 09, 2011 Ron rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing_books
An older but very engaging guide to the basics of dialogue for beginning writers. Covers all the basics and for most that's enough. I enjoyed the Socratic dialogue approach to the text.
Apr 11, 2013 Sariah rated it it was ok
Not a fan of two characters talking about dialogue for the whole book. Also, just skip the first chapter or two. It's mostly uncessary definitions.
Sep 22, 2009 Rebekah rated it it was ok
Shelves: writing-books
A bit dated and not a lot of information. There are better books and workshops out there. Find them.
David Fortier
A decent book on writing fiction. Apparently there are better ones out there. Still, helpful to a beginner.
P.G.  Sundling
Feb 05, 2016 P.G. Sundling rated it did not like it
Shelves: writing
I would rate this as the least helpful writing book in my entire collection (about 40 books).
Apr 23, 2010 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-nonfiction
Loved that the entire book teaches how write dialogue by dialogue. Very entertaining and clear.
Joel Gomes
Dec 12, 2012 Joel Gomes rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
A very short book, perfect to learn the basics of writing good fiction dialogue.
Winston Brown
Dec 08, 2012 Winston Brown rated it really liked it
Great informative book.
Jun 06, 2013 Robert rated it liked it
Good reference
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  • Plot
  • Setting: How to Create and Sustain a Sharp Sense of Time and Place in Your Fiction
  • Conflict, Action and Suspense (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Description
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  • Characters and Viewpoint (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Scene of the Crime: A Writer 's Guide to Crime Scene Investigation
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  • Time Travel
  • Armed and Dangerous: A Writer's Guide to Weapons
  • Novelist's Essential Guide to Crafting Scenes
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  • Dynamic Characters: How to Create Personalities That Keep Readers Captivated
  • Between the Lines: Master the Subtle Elements of Fiction Writing
  • 20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them
  • Creating Character Emotions
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Other Books in the Series

Elements of Fiction Writing (10 books)
  • Beginnings, Middles & Ends (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Characters and Viewpoint (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Conflict, Action and Suspense (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Description
  • Manuscript Submission
  • Plot
  • Scene and Structure (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Setting: How to Create and Sustain a Sharp Sense of Time and Place in Your Fiction
  • Voice and Style

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