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What Astronauts Can Teach You About Writing Dialogue

We’ve talked about writing a lot recently. We even talked about how awesome Hemingway’s dialogue is (at least I think so).

Dialogue can make or break a novel, I think. Crappy, unrealistic dialogue just bores me. It makes me skim quickly through the text and almost forget what I’m reading.

Today, I thought I’d post an example of great dialogue.

But there’s a catch. It’s not from a novel. This is an actual conversation between astronauts on the Apollo 10 mission that went around the moon in 1969. The entire mission, which is now declassified, was transcribed into a 500 page document.

My takeaway: If astronauts wrote novels, I think they’d write awesome dialogue. Because this is the awesomest dialogue that ever existed.

Take it away, astronauts.

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How visual is that? The last line just brings it all together, doesn’t it?

Next time you’re writing dialogue, remember the astronauts and the floating poop.

(Transcript Image: Distractions In Space)

(Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons)

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15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Matt #

    That’s awesome and it actually is great dialogue!

    Like

    April 29, 2013
  2. sally1137 #

    Hemingway in Spaaaaaace! I like it.

    Definitely a break from E.L. Doctorow.

    Like

    April 29, 2013
  3. Maybe it’s because it’s REAL dialog, not what some writer thought up….

    Like

    April 29, 2013
  4. Awesome. I love writing dialogue. It’s so fun to pit characters’ motivations against one another. People rarely answer questions directly in real life – just like in this conversation. At the very least, I can tell when dialogue is bad, but I guess most people can do that 🙂

    Like

    April 29, 2013
  5. Love this post! Thank goodness the material is now declassified and available to read. The great element in this conversation is that it truly illustrates (!) the experience of these Apollo 10 astronauts at this point in time. It is as if we, too, are floating around in the space capsule!

    I am new to your blog, but very much respect a person who would take on the challenge of reading Time Magazine’s top 100 books!

    My disappointment with Time’s list is that three great books with exemplary use of dialogue aren’t included: 1) Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and 2) any of Jane Austen’s books (my favorite Northanger Abbey) and 3) Virginia Woolf’s The Waves. In the aforementioned books of Faulkner and Woolf, the authors’ respective use of internal monologues create the characters, plot, setting, etc. In any of Jane Austen’s books (which unfortunately have been over-commercialized), her extensive use of dialogue as a means of characterization is widely written about by literati.

    Again, I applaud your goal and look forward to reading your reviews!

    Like

    April 29, 2013
    • Thanks so much for reading, and welcome!

      Yeah, Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury (which I’ve reviewed) made the list, and Light in August is on there as well. But As I Lay Dying didn’t make it. And I was telling my wife she needs to read Northanger Abbey just last night. Funny.

      Like

      April 29, 2013
  6. Thanks for the welcome! Your wife will definitely enjoy Northanger Abbey. It is a great satire on the gothic novel’s of Austen’s day!

    Like

    April 29, 2013
  7. This is pretty rad. Best finding on WordPress today!

    Like

    April 29, 2013
  8. sylviemarieheroux #

    From crappy dialogue to dialogue about… Tooooo funny! My husband and I nearly choked laughing.

    Like

    April 29, 2013
  9. Brilliant. Sadly most people don’t have such unique scenarios to dialogue about!

    Like

    April 30, 2013
  10. That hilarious dialogue was included in “Packing for Mars,” a book researched and written by Mary Roach. If you think that’s funny, you should read her entire book. It’s a terrific look inside the US and other countries’ space programs. I reviewed the book a long time ago. If you’re interested, it’s at: http://jilannehoffmann.com/2012/04/16/mea-culpa/

    I laugh every time I read this. :o)))))))

    Like

    April 30, 2013
  11. arpanperpus #

    Reblogged this on perpustakana museum sejarah jakarta.

    Like

    June 2, 2013

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  1. Space Talk: What Astronauts Can Teach You About Writing Dialog | THE OTHER NETWORK WRITER'S ROOM

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