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Old 11-03-2009
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You can discuss my commentary here, if you so desire.

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Old 11-03-2009
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You can discuss my commentary here, if you so desire.
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For me, any moment like this is all about characters. Gags, dialogue, pain, anything you write has to come from who these people are. You can’t bend them to your will, your story must bend to theirs.
That's your quote right there. Care to expound? (Yes? You know you want to.)
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Old 11-03-2009
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That's your quote right there. Care to expound? (Yes? You know you want to.)

Hey, lookie there. I said that.

Yes, I shall expound.

I am not of the philosophy that you can just write anything with any character. These are specific people with specific ways of reacting and speaking. You can have anything happen to them (i.e. hit by a bus) that you want, but you can't control how they react to it. They'll react how they'll react. You can have it all planned out before you write, of course, but I hate it when writers have characters react in a specific way just because they NEED them to react that way to move the story in some predetermined direction. Characters drive the story, not the other way around.
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Old 11-03-2009
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I am not of the philosophy that you can just write anything with any character. These are specific people with specific ways of reacting and speaking. You can have anything happen to them (i.e. hit by a bus) that you want, but you can't control how they react to it. They'll react how they'll react. You can have it all planned out before you write, of course, but I hate it when writers have characters react in a specific way just because they NEED them to react that way to move the story in some predetermined direction. Characters drive the story, not the other way around.
Yes, I think I mostly agree with that. It's usually best just to go with the flow with characters and see where they take you. Like you said at the end of your commentary, the characters are the driving force of the story. It's pretty neat to start a story not knowing where it will go and just letting the characters take it from there.

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I can be such a bastard
This was my favorite line of your commentary.

Anyway, my own thoughts...

I'm different from you in the starting with either an ending line or a first line. I usually have trouble with beginning lines, because I just want to jump right into the fray of the action and have trouble of thinking what will draw people in. I usually come up with my ending lines about halfway through the story, and that ends up being the driving force that lets me finish them. But I think yours is an interesting process, CK.


Using dialogue tags is something I'm a bit biased on, since I tend to use them to aid a lot of my description. I think a lot of it depends on the writer's style; some like to use tags more than others. For a back and forth type of conversation I think less tags are better, but other than that I pretty much use them at will. What about you guys: do you use tags, or prefer less of them?
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Old 11-03-2009
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What about you guys: do you use tags, or prefer less of them?
Oh, well, I think everyone who reads my work at all knows how I feel about tags! I prefer them because it gives me a chance to delve into more insight into a character, what they are thinking, doing. Having said that, I do understand the idea of not breaking the flow of conversation - in theory. I say that because I'm still trying to get the hang of dialogue (and I am trying to learn from CK), so I tend to change my approach to it with every fic. On the whole, though, I personally feel like my writing style doesn't seem complete without tags. This may be because I tend to be descriptive - perhaps overly so! - so it reads strangely to me if I suddenly switch to isolated dialogue.
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Old 11-03-2009
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Using dialogue tags is something I'm a bit biased on, since I tend to use them to aid a lot of my description. I think a lot of it depends on the writer's style; some like to use tags more than others. For a back and forth type of conversation I think less tags are better, but other than that I pretty much use them at will. What about you guys: do you use tags, or prefer less of them?

Sometimes you need them. Many times, in fact. Some might (and have) accuse me of not using them enough. I use them when they're needed and when they don't mess with the flow of the narrative and the conversation. Sometimes, just to keep things straight as to who's talking, you can't ignore them. It's easier to get away with not using them in a two-person convo than a three person convo.

I agree it's a style thing. For straight narrative, I use them much more frequently than I do when I'm going for more of a choppy, short-paragraph, spartan feel to a story. It really depends on the context. Some people would err on the side of using too many. I err on the side of using too few.
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Old 11-03-2009
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Oh, well, I think everyone who reads my work at all knows how I feel about tags! I prefer them because it gives me a chance to delve into more insight into a character, what they are thinking, doing. Having said that, I do understand the idea of not breaking the flow of conversation - in theory. I say that because I'm still trying to get the hang of dialogue (and I am trying to learn from CK), so I tend to change my approach to it with every fic. On the whole, though, I personally feel like my writing style doesn't seem complete without tags. This may be because I tend to be descriptive - perhaps overly so! - so it reads strangely to me if I suddenly switch to isolated dialogue.

You're style is wonderfully descriptive. You know I'd steal your descriptions if I could. Some people write like that, and for that style the tags are needed or, you're right, the flow is messed up. I completely agree. Your style is much more poetic and your use of language is much different than mine. It's amazing our styles mesh as well as they do.
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You're style is wonderfully descriptive. You know I'd steal your descriptions if I could. Some people write like that, and for that style the tags are needed or, you're right, the flow is messed up. I completely agree. Your style is much more poetic and your use of language is much different than mine. It's amazing our styles mesh as well as they do.
You are far too generous with your praise! But, yes, it is amazing - and interesting - that our styles can mesh so well. Definitely has made me more aware of my own style and the choices I make - especially paragraph formation and general flow. I think co-writing things does that. You have to make decisions much differently.
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Old 11-03-2009
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BWEE. DISCUSSIONS. THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER MIA.

Also, it is interesting getting in your head CK. *creeps around poking at things*

Perhaps shockingly, I know what you mean. Tags can be a royal pain in the butt. Especially the he said, she said, your mom said types. BORING. REPETITIVE. NOT TELLING US ANYTHING WE DIDN'T ALREADY KNOW. But sometimes a necessary evil.

Buuuut, I don't think the he/she/your mom types are the only kind of tags. Those with an elaborating adjective, I agree, are annoying and break flow and whatnot. But tags can also be actions or descriptions and I think it's important to use those regularly (avoiding unnecessary adjective descriptions of emotions by describing the character's reactions physically) and not letting bare dialogue stretch too long because that leaves the reader with just voices in their head. That said, balancing the right amount of tags is hard. OMFJ, is it hard.

My favorite part of your commentary was getting to hear what you really liked about your fic and how you come up with your dialogue and such. I have to work for pretty much every line, so I think it's interesting that some of you (you and maja) can just sit and spit it out without thinking. *stabs both of you*

Also, hooray for non-Abby-hating! *fistbumps*
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Old 11-04-2009
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MORE QUESTIONS! Hehehehe. *pokes your brain*

So, you say you like to work towards a last line, but you don't want to bend the characters to your story. Sooo... what if there's a conflict? You want an ending, but the characters don't want to go there. What do you do?
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