Reflections – Writing Dialogue

Half way through my classes on dialogue, I have decided to write down what I have done and how it is going.

I have always enjoyed writing dialogue. I have practiced to write it in a way that brings elements of the story in so that I have the characters tell the story through their words and actions rather than the narrator tell the reader what is going on.

I found that writing dialogue in a period piece I have to be careful that I do not write speech as we say it today. That can be a little tough but I did research some words such as swear words to try to be more authentic.

I am finding that as I go along if I want to write a new piece I have to start with the setting, place the characters in there and then have them talk. It can take a while to produce even half a page of writing. I can now see how writing a plan is different that taking that plan and turning it into something interesting to read with description layer upon layer and interesting characters being shown rather than the narrator telling us all about who they are. The characters are shown in how they look, what they do, and what they say. The settings can be used to enhance who the characters are and the issues they are facing in the story.

I am a little confused about Omniscient POV. I have read up on it and I think it is where the narrator knows what is going to happen and tells us about the characters and what is going on for them. It seems to take us back to telling instead of showing. I do not like this POV. It seems to undo everything I have learned about showing/telling. I also cannot see a good reason for writing in that POV. I should research that.

In writing the exercise where we ask questions of a character about their secrets, it was interesting to see how I can show a character being angry or at least a little testy without them saying I am angry. Of course a person could be a little defensive when they are being asked about their secrets. Also, they do not always answer questions directly. Or they answer the question with another question. Or they go off on tangents.

Listening to people talk and writing the words as they say them is helpful. It helps me to see how they put sentences together in speech. It is a bit like sitting in a garden and listening to the sounds, feeling the breeze, and smelling the scents. I can imangine those things in my head, but to actually be there and put down the words that come out of their mouths is enlightening.

I need practice with punctuation for speech.

It helps me to write up the speech in draft first and then put interesting description around the dialogue to enhance the story. This is just at the point of the speech. Prior to the speech, obviously the setting comes first. But when the speech starts it helps me to get out what I want them to say and how they are going to say it before I put in any action around their dialogue.

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