Dialogue Project (2)

It's come to my attention that what I'm writing sounds a bit off. (I haven't actually read through things recently to check this assertion, but thats the kind of person I am at the moment). To address the situation, I will be working on writing some believable dialogue. We'll call this experiment number 2.         "Write what you know." said John, with a certain air.         "What kind of advice is that." Susan's frowned. "Everyone says that, its like saying 'wash your hands before you eat'."         "Maybe because its good advice."         "Well what do I know anyway," said Jack, "All I could think of just now is how someone on a sitcom would have to have made a joke about someone never washing their hands right there."         "Maybe that's what you know," said John, "you know TV really well."         Susan took a sip of her tea and started swishing the ice around with the straw. "Well TV and movies are a dialogue driven medium. Have you ever seen a script before, its almost completely dialogue. They push all the other stuff off into stage directions and stuff, but its very sparse."         "Yeah, maybe thats the problem. Your so used to the way they do it in TV and movies that your mind is set up to see scenes and dialogue rather than long descriptive paragraphs like a novel."         "Well what good is that if I'm trying to write a novel. Well not a novel, but a written story. You can't write like a movie in a novel. If people wanted to read scripts then they would."         "Why can't you?" asked Susan. "Just put all that description stuff in dialogue. I mean the formatting would be different than a script. Any anyway when you hit it big it will just be all the more easy to turn the story into a movie."         "Maybe." Jack looked down at his half filled plate.         "If nothing else Jack, you know what you need to work on. That’s the important thing. Practice makes perfect." John smiled again.         "Oh your just full of them today," said Susan with a wry smile.         "Hey, good advice is good advice. It doesn't lose anything just because Benjamin Franklin or somebody said it."         "You know, really I think its the formatting that’s the problem. I don't have trouble with the talking part, its all that 'he said she said' stuff. If you don't put any thought into it then it comes out dry because everything is always just like 'said', you know? But if you try and get into it then it starts to sound like one of those adventure stories. Like a Tom Swifty."         "Tom Swifty?" said John. "Sounds dirty."         Jack rolled his eyes. "No, it’s those little 'he said she said' puns they have in old adventure stories, like the hardy boys or the box car children. Like 'I've struck oil, said Tom crudely'."         The three friends laughed.         Susan finally put her drink down. "Well when you think about it, the only point to all of that is to make sure the reader can tell who's talking. I've seen lost of dialogue where they don't use said at all. You can just tell who's talking from the context. Its like following an overheard conversation."         Jack looked up from his plate. "Right, but that only works with two people."         "Could be three if one has an accent." said John, "Oh, or a speech impediment!"         "I think it would still work with more."         "It would just get confusing on the readers part."         "They'll figure it out."         "Eventually maybe, but it should be a passive part of reading. If I have to examine every sentence like a puzzle, I'll just find something else to read."         Susan frowned.         John noticed her expression and gave a nervous laugh, worried he had been too forceful in his argument. "I get what your saying thought. You can keep it to a minimum."         "Thats all I'm saying."         "You have to have some non-dialogue stuff sometimes." Added John. "I always hate it in movies or TV when they put together some silly scene so that the main guy can have an excuse to explain everything to the audience. That’s what makes books good at somethings. They can just stop the dialogue and talk for a while. You know, set the scene, explain all the people, fill in the back story."         "What about voice over, thats basically the same thing." said Susan.         Jack shook his head. "The narrator is a character too. It’s still dialogue. Voice over is a character in the action, but narrators are character too, even thought you never see them."         "Yeah, I guess so."         "They do that scrolling setup text at the beginning sometimes. Especially in Sci-Fi movies."         "Yeah, but you can't make that very long, it gets boring and it never scrolls at the right speed." said John.         As the three friends talked, their waitress arrived and took their plates, leaving a small plastic tray with the bill and three peppermint candies. Susan thanked her and began to examine the bill.         "Why do they leave these things anyway?" asked John.         "They're to clean your breath." said Susan as she perused the charges, figuring the tip in her head. "I don't like them either, but if they ever forget them, they can kiss their tip goodbye."         "I guess that means you two don't want yours then." said Jack. He quickly grabbed up the three mints, deftly pealed them, and popped all three into his mouth.         "Don't do that, what are you 5 years old. We can't take you anywhere."         "Whuhh?"         Susan pulled a credit card out from her pocketbook and placed it inside the small folder along with the bill. She placed it near the edge of the table, where it was quickly swept up by the passing waitress who returned a few minutes later to return the card.         "Hey," said John, "Let me pay my share at least. You don't have..."         "Don't worry, its all on my Boss's expense account. As long as we talk business it’s cool."         "So howsss bumniss?" mumbled Jack through his mints.         Susan smiled, "Good, thanks for asking."         "Is that it?"         "Sounded likhh bummniss to me."