Notes from "Dialog" by Lewis Turco
A Subject is what you are talking about. Example: Love
A Theme is what you say about a subject (as a complete sentence). Example: Love is Painful.
A Monologue is half a conversation. It's a speech to a character.
A Plot is story line of actions and events that serves to exemplify the theme.
Tools and techniques in Stories:
Italics for unspoken words.
Try not having a narrator as it slows things down.
Frame narration helps the reader get the impression of being present when the story is told.
Give protagonist a dominant personality trait (courage etc.) and a desire to be, have, do (Goal). Make the antagonist a hinderance in the protagonists' pursuit for the goal.
Story can be narrated via the following viewpoints:
Orientation: Author narrates or Character narrates.
Person: First Person (I), Second Person (You), Third Person (We)
Angle: Single (Action of one character is followed), Multiple (Occurs in the presence of multiple characters)
Access: Objective (Only narrate action), Subjective (Narrate action and emotion)
Mood is created by setting (environment), attitude of the characters and description.
Tips for Dialog:
Try NOT using adjectives, adverbs to describe the tone as it gets in the way and reminds the reader that someone else in control.
Start from the middle of the situation, 'In media res'.
Use dialog for mood setting.
Characterize by diction, i.e. speech of the person or speech of another character describing the person.
Support the theme in every dialog.
Characters reply obliquely, talking about their preoccupation.
Characters react to the other dialog, even when not speaking.
Dialog should feel like eavesdropping and not composed.
Syntax (Objective, subjective or dramatic)
Diction (Tone & Style) - high, medium, low.
Dialect (prefer standard American)
Vocabulary and idioms can elevate a diction.
Break dialog for drama and characterization.