Dialogue, dialogue! So many issues with dialogue… So easy to make something cheesy, unrealistic, repetitive, uncharacteristic….
Worst Dialogue Sequence.
“A love spell? But he’s a man!”
“There are sorcerers, and families where magic runs on the male side but kings usually wipe them out fast. Men with magic are more dangerous than women it seems.”
“Well, he’s not from a family it runs in because the only other magic family in this kingdom it runs in the women.”
“Hmm, it could run in his family but they might have hidden it to protect themselves, you know.”
“I gotta go and you have to go to sleep. Mom wants you better by tomorrow,” she said as she got up to leave.
Poorly inserted exposition, shifts in tone and style from previous paragraphs, lack of dialogue tags, lack of description, lack of individual voices for the characters, general ickness and poor writing.
“I’ll kill you!” she shouted.
“Not if I kill you first!” he answered.
“I’d like to see you try.”
Um, somebody hurry up and kill somebody here, because this discussion is doing nothing for the story and right about now I wish you both would die.
“Enjoy your swim?” Charoleen asked, finally coming out of the room with the table and couches, where she had been crazily writing and planning.
“Yes, it was lovely. You should all take one,” I answered.
“Maybe later,” she said. “I’ve got too much to do.”
Let me just recap this for you: Charoleen comes out, asks a dumb question, says she has too much work to do, and returns to her room. *Facepalm*
“No. Trust me, I’ve changed plenty of spare tires. I even know what a lug nut wrench looks like!” Brandy sarcastically replied, realizing he thought she was the helpless female.
Erm, besides “sarcastically” being total overkill, I used to love using dialog tags like “replied,” “cried,” “whispered,” “bemoaned,” etc, etc. I got over that.
“You know,” Celaena said in her cool, cultured voice: “I’ve killed men with less than this.” A slow smile spread across her face as she saw, from the corner of her eye, the overseer take an unsure step back in fear.
“You’ve heard the story about the hairpin incident, haven’t you? Imagine: a harmless, innocent hairpin—what harm could it possibly do? Now, picture that hairpin jammed all the way through a man’s eye and into his brain. Lovely, isn’t it?” Celaena laughed lightly. “That was one of my more creative kills, actually. Now, I want you to think about what I did with something as harmless as a hairpin and imagine what I can do with this pickax.” She looked expectantly at the overseer, who was holding his whip defensively.
“Yer-yer can’t do anything t’me!” His hands shook and his red face was nearing a sickly pink. “Yer’ve been condemned by the King ta work until yer death in these salt-mines! Yer ain’t en assassin no more!”
A pathetic way of reassuring himself. Celaena stared at him blankly.
I honestly don’t know where to begin. The overseer’s accent? The over-writing? The redundancy? The fact that Celaena sounds like a psychopath? It’s like a perfect storm of idiocy.
“What?” Jenny asked.
“What, what?” Sherrel asked back.
“What, what, what?” Beatrez joined in, now out of the water but behind a tree.
“Who just said the last three what’s?” a confused Jenny questioned.
With that, Beatrez ran silently back and slipped into the water.
“Beatrez,” Sherrel said looking at the tree Beatrez used to be behind, “You can come out now.”
“What, what, what, what?” Beatrez joked coming out of the water.
“What, what, what, what, what?” Jenny said.
“What, what, what, what, what, what?” Sherrell tried out their new language.
“What what, what what what what, what!” Beatrez exclaimed enthusiastically.
…I’m not even going to touch that.
The other boy came questioningly forward. “……………………”
Yes, I used that many periods. *Smacks twelve-year-old self* WTH. In my defense, it was because way back when when I posted this to Fanfiction.net, you had to use like a thousand periods or it would change your ellipsis to just one dot.
“Dear, if you would like, you may stay at my house until the storm passes. I’m afraid it won’t be very merciful today.”
Amelia smiled, looking relieved and almost awed at the woman’s kindness. “Oh, but I couldn’t…”
“Nonsense. I would rather enjoy some company, Amelia dear.”
Amelia looked at the woman. Did I tell her my name? Amelia then felt very unsure and confused, and very uncomfortable. “Actually, I’m fine…”
“Don’t worry, Amelia dear. I don’t bite. I happen to know that you’ve been through a lot. Come to my house, and I’ll send a messenger to your father, telling him that you’re alright.”
Amelia backed away a few steps. Should I really trust her? She seems nice and all, but…“How do you know all that?” her voice held suspicion in it.
“Amelia, I know many, many things. Now, you may come if you wish; I will not force you.”
I don’t even know where to start! What’s with all the over-usage of the word ‘dear’? I want to cry when I read this… It’s just crap. I mean, REALLY? Oh, the horror!
Damian, however, made that decision for her. “Hi,” he said quietly, seating himself precariously on the edge of the bed. She blinked. “Accalia said you can’t talk, so just let me say this and I’ll leave.” She blinked again, waiting for him to continue. “I just wanted to say that it was very wrong of me to go and blame you for Sierra’s disappearance, wen I knew deep down that you didn’t have anything to do with it. It was stupid and foolish and irrational, and I’m sorry. I’ve said a lot of things –”
“Sure have,” Gwen croaked, her eyes dull, unlike the usual spark that lay there.
“But Accalia said –”
“That I couldn’t talk,” she said. “She says a lot of things.”
“Gwen, I had no right to –”
“–No, you didn’t,” the younger girl agreed, closing her eyes. Damian waited for a torrent of harsh words to flow from her lips, but they didn’t come. Instead, Gwen shifted her dull haze to his and tried to smile, though it looked more like a smirk than anything else. “Forget it,” she whispered hoarsely. “It’s over. Get on with your life. Go find Sierra. I’d help but…” she broke off her train of thought, her answer a bit obvious as she stared pointedly at the IV feeding into her hand.
“I’ve been looking. She’s on that darn ship that’s headed to god knows where,” Damian replied, his eyes almost sad. “So I can’t do anything about it.”
“Neither can I,” Gwen said.
“No, I don’t suppose you can, can you?” Damian reflected.
As a kid, I loved to write dialogue in which characters kept cutting each other off. This conversation kept going like that, so I thought I’d spare you! There’s also way too many dialogue tags, and just awkwardness all around. My twelve-year-old self apologizes!
What’s your worst dialogue sequence?