40 Comments
Jun 9Liked by Claudia Befu

Excellent world-building! I can feel the dust and grit in my mouth. The contrast between the two populations is also brought out well. To make it easier to follow who is speaking, try starting a new paragraph whenever the speaker changes.

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Thanks for reading and leaving a comment, Johnathan, really appreciated 💚.

The dialogue is killing me, I received so much feedback that I don't know what to do anymore😅. But I'm happy that at least the rest worked!

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"dialogue is the mindkiller..." now where did i hear that...

i feel your pain! but if it helps, i do find that if you start a new paragraph every time a different person speaks it does make things clearer. and also, if you read others' work you might find that many dont worry about putting " she said" "he replied" etc after every line of dialogue... it sort of washes over you... but the best thing is to use as little as you can and also put as little exposition in the dialogue as possible... but who am i to hive advice... you've written such a lot kore than me... and your narrative and ideas are great so don't worry!

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Jun 10·edited Jun 10Author

Thanks, Nick! It's one of those pain points that will probably follow me for a long time (and kill my mind! 😅).

You know, I got feedback for everything:

- I started by writing dialogue in a new line and got feedback that it's bothersome

- I stopped doing that and now I get feedback I should do it again

- I also got feedback that I don't need to attribute dialogue lines to characters all the time because readers can infer from the context who's talking

- Then I did the above and readers complained that they didn't know who was talking

I'll have to have a chat with Stephen King! I was following his advice in the first place. 🤣

Thanks for your appreciation regarding the narrative and ideas. Ultimately, I think that this is the main point of a story and I'll stick to improving that. The dialogue will follow somehow or maybe I reduce it to a minimum.

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yes... the context will often make it obvious who's speaking what... my partner sometimes suffers my writing and she is an excellent editor and wields THE HAMMER OF GRAMMAR and she keeps me right haha! i love your ideas and the way you conjur up imagery for new worlds.. that is the soul of sci fi after all.

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I use the hammer of grammarly 😅!

My husband also reads my stories and gives me very good feedback. Usually about character building and motivations. I tend to get carried away with the worldbuilding and descriptions.

I think that every writer has strengths and weaknesses. From my day job I learned that it's better to focus on the strengths.

Is your wife also asking you: So, when will you finish your next story?

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She encouraged me to write more and work less... i changed jobs this year so i could be less stressed out...and have written 5 or 6 short stories between 1000 and 12000 words this year already...and also joined a little writing course... and now she is more like "Oh...writing again, are we?" ... but she says i write well even if my stories are all horror and sci fi and not her cup of tea. she is more of a hilary mantell person.

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Hi Claudia!, From this comment, it looks like you're being buffeted by a lot of conflicting advice on dialogue, and I hope you won't go to extremes by changing it one way or the other! I agree with everyone here who is saying to start a new paragraph every time the speaker changes. Same as a movie script, right? That's pretty much a universal rule for fiction, and whoever told you otherwise -- don't listen to them.

I think the first section with dialogue in this story would work fine if broken up into paragraphs. It seems to have the right amount of dialogue tags -- not too many, but enough to let me know who's talking.

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Hi Larry, thanks a lot! I think it's alright to experiment. Ever since I started receiving feedback on the dialogue, I also started putting more attention to how dialogue is handled in the novels I read and I noticed that everyone is quite free style.

Starting a new paragraph every time the speaker changes seems the most sensible thing to do. I'll try it again with my next story.

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It’s funny, I was reading a sci-fi novel and they would break up a long dialogue speech into separate paragraphs and I thought, “You can’t do that!” Then later I went back to read Lord of the Rings, and Tolkien did the exact same thing!

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Jun 11Liked by Claudia Befu

I love toying and playing with the balance of needing dialogue attribution or not 😄. It's a nice thing to experiment with and hold back on if it's easily implied as to who is speaking.

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I actually like to attribute dialogue lines every single time but I played a bit around in my last two pieces. People seemed confused...

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I wasn’t confused. I think the first paragraph it happened took me a moment to adjust, but then I knew to expect it so it was fine.

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Seconding this! I wasn't confused. I re-read a line or two throughout the piece to make sure I was understanding correctly, and for me that certainly doesn't qualify as needing to overhaul anything. I do that with just about everything I read. I'm only one person -- as is anyone commenting -- but I feel like dialogue is a place where you, the author, can run a bunch of experiments. I've read, and written, stories, that are "successful" (by "successful" I just mean "clear," really) despite not having any dialogue attribution. Or, having the entire story being one long, long paragraph.

Artists bend rules!

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Jun 9Liked by Claudia Befu

It's indeed hard to do. I'll DM you a resource I use.

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Jun 9·edited Jun 9Author

Thank you! I was following the advice of Stephen King on writing dialogue but I got feedback several times that it's bothersome, so now I'm trying to mix it up a bit.

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Jun 11Liked by Claudia Befu

I took this as a deliberate stylistic choice (which some authors do use) and I didn't mind it once I got used to there being mixed dialogue within a paragraph, but yeah if it's not deliberate then run with Johnathan's suggestion.

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I've been observing how other writers do it, and I wanted to give a try. In the end, I think I'll go back to Stephen King's advice. But I need to buy one of his books to see how he applies his own advice 😅.

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Jun 11Liked by Claudia Befu

Haha. It’s worth reading some King. He’s a very easy read and is worth studying to aim for what I like to think of as a transparent reading experience—i.e. one where you easily forget that you’re actually reading because you’re just sucked in. Minimal prose, nothing fancy, just solid storytelling.

IT and The Shining are my favourite of his works, the former coming out on top but it’s a big, big read, so if you want to dip your toes then go for something shorter. If you want something non-horror, try his recent Holly. It’s a crime-detective story with only a suggestion of the potential for something unnatural. If you feel like something more fantasy, then The Gunslinger (the start of his superb The Dark Tower series) or The Talisman.

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I love detective stories, I'll try 'Holly'. You have very interesting literary interests from King to Murakami to Cartarescu. The only thing that all these three authors have in common is that they are a little weird... 🤣.

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Jun 12Liked by Claudia Befu

Haha. I just like to keep my reading as wide and varied as possible :)

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Jun 11Liked by Claudia Befu

Great piece, Claudia. I love having the character crossovers from your other CliFi posts.

Super workdbuilding as always. There's enough information here to feed the narrative, but not too much that it saturated. I really like that. Great job. Love the opening and closing lines, they're really strong bookends to the piece!

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I’m always looking forward to your notes every time I write something new! The closing line was suggested by my husband. I’ll let him know.

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A powerfully aching story, and yet it gives off a glimmer of hope. Somehow it made me think a bit about the comics series "The Solar Grid" by Ganzeer. while reading it. A vibe I got!

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I don’t know the comic series but now I’m curious to give it a read.

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Radix Media sells them: https://radixmedia.org/product-category/chapbooks/. Alas the first issue is out of stock. I don’t know if they ship outside of US.

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Jun 15Liked by Claudia Befu

I'm very sad. Nothing else to say. It was very well built and done.

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Thank you, Ken 🙏

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“There Is Hope” is back! Love the way you are bringing this world into focus and revealing the human struggle of those marginalized in the dystopian future. Great job as always illuminating the interminable class struggle. The echoes of this struggle reverberate from the previous chapters/stories, radiating from the concrete of the fracture landscape on a shriveling earth. Can’t wait for the serial posts!!!

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Thank you, Brian! I love your feedback, you seem to have a natural talent as a literary critic.

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