That one word which can inspire excitement in some writers and dread in others.
The art of writing speech is something I struggle with. Not always, but on certain moments I completely and utterly fail to get dialogue to flow in a good manner. This usually is when I am writing a rather emotional or strong scene. My ability to form words apparently flees at the sight of human emotion through characters. It leaves me fumbling around with dialogue that makes my modern day girl sound like she’s a damsel from a Shakespearean tragedy (‘Oh woe is me, steal me from this place and we shall fly to the stars together…’ ) or like my male lead is a simpering fool from a comedy novel (‘Hurr hurr, you’re so perdy.’ ).
Oh yes, dialogue is one of the most important parts of writing and at times I feel it fly from my fingers like I’m in the middle of the character’s conversation. I can jot down every word and nuance they blurt and I love those times, but then there are times when I’m forcing it out and the speech feels stiff, and those are the moments I become frustrated. In those annoying times I’m about ready to make my book a type of silent-novel where everyone conveys their emotions through stern glances and exciting touches. I realise gestures and the absence of words can be even more powerful, but a lot of the time there has to be some speech.
But reading back through, ‘Stolen’ and my WIP novella I am working on now, there are some moments when I squeal in delight at the thought that I actually wrote something that I am proud of. I need to remember those times, to help keep me motivated to practice further and get better.
Books and movies do tend to help get me in the mood to write certain character’s dialogue, I have to be in a set frame of mind sometimes, I find, to get a character’s personality to come across right through their speech.
I guess the only answer to getting better at dialogue is to write it.
I read this post recently, ‘It has taste’ over at the blog, lettuce write! (which is a blog really worth your time to check out). It is a brilliant piece of dialogue and interaction that I aspire to write like!
I found a few places that offer tips for writing dialogue:
The general summary of advice seems to be:
– Don’t make speech too realistic (not too many, ‘um’ or hesitations).
– Don’t give too much information in one big chunk of speech.
– Avoid accents.
Now it’s time to get practicing!
Do you struggle with writing dialogue? Do you have any tips for those of us that do? Any snippets of dialogue you’ve written you want to share (because I’m *totally* not nosey or anything)?
Word Count: 5250, over 2 days.
Status of Second Manuscript: Writing first draft (Total word count: 27,057)
February E-Book Review: Finished Reading.