Bastet's Lair

News, book reviews, essays, interviews, fiction writing, politics, and my view of the world

May 21, 2007

Complete Idiots

I should know better. I really should. But I got into an Internet argument with some guy who owns a writing list about whether characters use complete sentences or not. He claims that people really don't speak in full sentences and says all dialog should reflect that.

I think he's out of his mind. I've done the old assignment where you sit at a booth in a restaurant or at a coffeehouse and eavesdrop on the people near you. It idea is to listen to the cadence and the way they phrase things. It's supposed to make your written dialog more realistic. And guess what? When I did that, people spoke in COMPLETE SENTENCES. Okay, they were punctuated them with sentence fragments, but on the whole People. Don't talk. Like this.

The guy who runs the writing list is so sure he's correct, that I was beginning to doubt my own senses. I asked other writers. Yup. Full sentences. Some characters don't use them just for spice or to set them apart from the others.

I'm wondering if this mailing list is worth being on is simply run by a guy just wants to hear his own opinions applauded, in which case I'm bailing.

And that's my little puzzle of the day.