Jonathan Raban: On Dialogue

Jonathan Raban:

Read almost any newspaper interview, and you’ll conclude that the dialogue of real people is more stilted and implausible than the dialogue of invented characters.

Trying to make real people sound real on the page is necessarily an exercise in impressionism.

Nothing teaches one the subtleties of punctuation so well as an attempt to take a skein of actual speech and restore to it the pauses, ellipses, switches of tone and speed that it had in life.

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