Thursday, May 9, 2013

To dialogue or not to dialogue

I once toyed with the idea of writing a novel without using any dialogue.  No really.  Anyone else ever think of trying that?  At the time I disliked and feared dialogue.  It was hard, it was clunky, everyone sounded the same, it was impossible.

I no longer feel like that.  I can't say exactly when my feelings changed but now I really like dialogue. I've even received compliments on it. (Hmmm, maybe I should write a book that's all dialouge......okay, not really)  I know practice had a lot to do with the change.  Also, finding a story and characters I was passionate about. When I loved the characters, when I knew them, it was easy to know what they would say and how they would say it.

Of course, study and craft research helped too.

Durring the A-Z challenge (so it maybe went unnoticed by a lot of people)  there was a three part series on dialogue over at The Blabbermouth. Here is the first part, second, and third. I found it a fun and interesting read.  And even though I don't hate dialogue anymore, there's always room for improvement.




34 comments:

  1. I've found that writing dialogue is one of my strongest assets as a writer. But, as you said, there's always room for improvement.

    I'll check The Blabbermouth out, thanks :)

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    1. It's a good asset to have. So often I enjoy a book but the dialogue is so wooden and inane that I can't keep reading.

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  2. I employ dialogue in nonfiction too. It keeps the pace moving and engages the reader. I'll check out this site. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. It can be good for keeping the pace up. But I've also seen it done poorly and slowing down everything.

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  3. I will have to check out those links. Thanks!
    Oh and I've never thought of writing a book with no dialogue but I used to think it would be fun to write a book with no character descriptions, just let their actions draw the picture.

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  4. 'Hmmm, maybe I should write a book that's all dialouge......okay, not really)'

    This made me smile.

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  5. I've always really liked writing dialogue. Maybe too much. I've had to be careful not to have my characters sitting around talking about doing something too much. Thanks for the links.

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  6. Crazy. I wrote a short story that was ONLY dialogue... That was interesting...

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  7. I've found things I once sucked at I've gotten quite good at. Practice is the main ingredient as you say. And study, and opening our minds to listen.

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  8. Actually I have written books with no dialogue, but they were nonfiction. As far as dialogue only, that would be difficult. In essence dialogue creates white space in your writing that allows the reader to rest his eyes and read quicker.

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    1. I dont' think dialogue only could be a satisfying read. We need the description and internals.

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  9. The fun thing about writing dialog is my characters are MUCH more clever than I am. (If only someone would script MY lines...)

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    1. I hear you. I'm not good at conversation and wish I could rewrite and revise everything that comes out of my mouth. It would really be for the best.

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  10. I can write serviceable dialogue between myself and animals, even a slug once, but between people, that's hard and I am so impressed by writers who can do it.

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    Replies
    1. I've always found slugs difficult to write. We all have our strengths.

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  11. Thanks for the links--I had definitely missed those posts! :)

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  12. My friend Brianna posted three dialogues with her daughter during the challenge and I loved how the conversation shared humor, truth, and honesty! Here are the links to them.
    http://1stwrites.blogspot.com/2013/04/i-is-for-invisible.html
    http://1stwrites.blogspot.com/2013/04/o-is-for-one.html
    http://1stwrites.blogspot.com/2013/04/v-is-for-victorious.html
    Enjoy!
    Pam

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    1. Thanks for those links! It's always good when dialogue can get across so much.

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  13. Hi Sara! Sorry for being out of the loop, your blog is one of my favorites.

    As far as dialogue goes, I had a similar experience. Part of my initial problem with dialogue was that since I write for middle grade readers it seemed that my dialogue was either too juvenile, or too adult. I'm pretty satisfied with my ability to write MG dialogue now, but like you said, "there's always room for improvement!"

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  14. I don't think I could ever write without dialog. It just wouldn't feel right for me!

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    1. I'm pretty good at avoiding what I don't want.

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  15. I think it's because when we fear something head-on, we work at destroying that fear for preservation's sake. I feel that way about descriptions.

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  16. I think the dialogue tags become a bit tricky...
    A dialogue driven piece can be very effective!
    Thanks for the links to those posts.

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    1. I find dialogue tags to be very organic. I don't normally struggle with those. At least not like I did with dialogue.

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  17. I've been told that dialogue is one of my strengths, so eliminating it would be a serious handicap for me. :)

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  19. Good, authentic and distinctive dialog is tough to nail. For some, it's a gift. For others, it borders on a curse. Practice makes perfect, I guess.

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  20. Oh, wow I love dialogue! Most of my scene start with it and those that don't start with an internal dialogue of my MC. If it weren't for dialogue, I wouldn't be writing.

    I think your dialogue is great, BTW. ; )

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  21. I like dialogue, always have. I've even written a few flash fiction pieces of strictly dialogue and without using dialogue attribution. It's a bit nutty but fun to do. (:

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  23. Now you sound exactly like me. I used to fear dialogue because I thought my characters sounded like dorky tweens, no matter who they were. I think this is really one of those cases where practice makes - well, not perfect, but at least I'm not afraid anymore :-)

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