Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thursday's Observation on Speech Patterns

I really hate when people talk about how to write dialogue by telling me to listen to other people (I might have given this advice, but I could be a hypocrite). This angers me because if this was tried and true advice, they must have tried this and have taken notes on speech patterns. If they haven't, they shouldn't give me this advice. If they have, they should share their notes which is what I'm doing. Here are some dialogue thingys I've notices.
As I've mentioned in a pervious post, I contribute to my school newspaper. For newspaper, I have to transcribe my interviews, so I have accurate quotes. It's so funny to look at the individual words a person is saying and realizing they don't make any sense.
Common dialogue key:
  • People don't speak in complete sentences (fragments galore). On the other hand, people tend to use run-on sentences. 
  • People lose their train of thoughts and change their idea in thr middle of- btw this is annoying (see what I did there)
  • People don'r remember what they use for lists. For the first example they might say 1, but for the following example they will say B. 
    • 1. this looks like a mistake when people read it 
    • B. I do this all the time
  • People aren't always consistent syntactical patterns. For example, if I made a list of object, I might start off by separating each example with a comma and lead into saying "and"between the final examples. (I like writing side notes to clarify what I am saying, separate my description with my example and looks cool and adds something the break the reader form my gibberish description, creates something new)
  • People are really repetitive. They like to reiterate themselves, and sometimes they just forgot what they said earlier. 
  • People use the same phrases over and over. I'm not talking about catch phrases (which I don't know anyone who really uses those), but people have certain ways to describe what they want to say. For example, I say gibber gabber and heebie gibbies a lot. I wouldn't call them my catch phrases, but they are a part of my dialogue. Most people's key words aren't as obvious as mine. Their safety word can be as simple as "despite" in every comparative sentence. 
  • When people are saying what the other person said, they don't always use "like" or "said". I've notice a lot of the time, people don't even use a verb before dialogue. (Mimi not eating her food made mama mad "if you don't like my food, you can go hungry")
  • This is unusual, but it pops up every now and then. Don't mention how long a conversation lasted. I hate when books give a time about how long a conversation lasted for. (Example: The conversation with Jackie last five minutes. The most chaotic five minutes of my life). I don't like them. I think they are awkward. Also the times are usually way off. This might be hard to believe, but a person can say A LOT in a few seconds. My voice record is weird, so if I'm a few seconds off, I have to wait for the person to say half a page of information before they get back to where I wanted them to be. I'm not sure if this is 100% accurate, but one of my friends who wants to write screenplays told me that a page worth of dialogue lasts for 30 seconds. In books they will have half a page of dialogue and say it lasted five minutes 
  • People like to say "you" opposed to general statements (Saying "you can lose weight if you don't eat an entire cake day" instead of "people can lose weight if they don't eat an entire cake a day")
  • Everybody's style of talking is different. I complied this list based on patterns I found bettwen multiple interviews of people of different ages and sexes, but this doesn't apply to every single person in the world
I hope these helped. The best advice is to listen to other people to really learn how people structure their sentences. I just recording a conversation with a friend or interview a friend and transcribe it later for the most accurate results.