Wednesday, May 23, 2012

05/23/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Greetings everyone and good morning! I hope this week so far has seen you well. Today I have a big pot luck at work sponsored by one of the other centers. This is the first of many things that are coming up the different locations have given us. A bunch of presents telling everyone that we did a good job and will be missed. It's bittersweet, and makes me feel appreciated. I hope wherever I go it'll have a similar culture around the place.

Today I wanted to take a look at dialogue. Now I know what you're all saying, ironically I hope, that we all know how to handle people having conversations in our stories. If that's the case, then you are awesome and I would appreciate your assistance with comments later! The reason I wanted to look at it was because dialogue also has a habit of breaking up the page, and sometimes taking esthetics into account when writing is also rather important.

Think of the times you've been reading, let's use Nathanial Hawthorne as an example, and you turn the page and see nothing but one solid continuous paragraph, maybe there's two, but you've also just gone through two pages of the same thing. Getting to dialogue is a breath of fresh air because it looks different. When people see a wall of text the first thing they think is how long is it going to take to get through all that. It's a little intimidating, so dialogue is used in place of exposition to give description and progress the plot. It's a beautiful and wonderful thing.

When it comes to dialogue, Word and I sometimes have some disagreements. Your spell and grammar check-er will want to make sure that everything is a complete and perfect sentence, however people don't always talk like that, especially if you're writing out a part for a child. People use pauses, hand gestures, body language, and all sorts of things in the process of talking that should be put into the dialogue line in order to fully get information across to the reader. People also don't always use proper grammar when they are talking, and if you're trying to get an accent across Word will absolutely lose it. I know there will be points when you will stop and try to correct it. Maybe the sentence looks too short, and there's that pale squiggly line under it, it will haunt you until you do something to correct it. Many people get around this by disabling spell/grammar check. I'm not a fan of this mostly because I can't tell you how many times I've meant and thought I typed something else and I see there's a completely wrong word there. Or also I wasn't sure on the spelling of something so I went for phonetics and hoped for the best.

When you're working with dialogue pieces it's important to remember how people actually act. You've already gone through the process of character creation and made the person speaking into a 'real' person, so why make them talk like a robot? (Unless they are a robot. If that's the case, then please, carry on.) Making sure the dialogue points are realistic will help people relate and also grow attached to the character, which is what's going to get people reading your other works as well. If they can see you handle characterization well, they will be excited to see new books by you because of the people you introduce them to.

Thanks everyone for stopping by again this week. I look forward to seeing everyone back here on Friday for our normal review. Another reminder; "The Light Rises" is still $1, but for one more week only, so please check it out and tell your friends to go to Smashwords and use coupon code AW99C! See you Friday!

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