IT’S DIALOGUE TIME in the NaNoWriMo #InstaWrimo challenge. So let’s start with a confession:
I hate writing dialogue!
One of my best friends is a talented playwright. She says the reason she chose to write for stage and screen was that she found it easier to write dialogue than prose. She’s not the only one who thinks so, but it confuzzles me greatly.
For dialogue to flow well, you not only need to capture the dialects and accents of the people speaking, but you need to get their souls too. Furthermore, you need to be able to break free from the rules of prose writing and realise that speech is informal and, unlike the written word, it can go pretty much any which way it wants.
My solution to the problem is to begin by writing placeholder dialogues. Basically, I know where and when I want my characters to talk, and I know what I want them to talk about and where the convo is meant to take them. So, I give them rudimentary dialogue lines that land somewhere in between written and spoken language and leave it at that.
When I start the editing process, I dedicate a separate round of edits to comb through all the dialogues. Having finished the script helps me have a clear voice from each character in my head. I know them and I can hear, and feel, how they speak and how they would say certain things. Or how they would respond to certain situations.
By editing/rewriting all dialogues in one go, I can do my best to make sure all characters stay true to themselves throughout. And that they don’t change the way they speak in between chapters.
Here’s an example of a placeholder dialogue from Fenrir’s Cubbies. It’s in chapter two, and Horse is trying to get Edda to come with him to his birthday party at the Cubbies’ Clubhouse.
In the end, it was Horse, never too keen on sharing me with anyone, who put a stop to it all. He pulled me back into his arms and buried his nose in my hair again. “It’s time to go, love. We have a party to attend.”
I huffed and roll my eyes at him. “No, you have a party to attend. I’m Angel’s bitch tonight and I’m not going anywhere without her.”
“No problem, she already knows where we’re going. Hunter’s gone to get her now.”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake, Horse! Send someone to abort that mission right away. Please! She’ll roundhouse kick his arse into February if she finds him here. He’s supposed to be at home with Juicy tonight.”
I hadn’t even finished the sentence before all Hel broke loose in the corridor outside the bar. “Please, you have to stop them before anyone gets hurt,” I begged, and both Lowkey and Scooter took off.
There. Placeholder dialogue straight from the first draft. Now, let’s talk about you.
How do you feel about writing dialogue?
Do you have an example of a dialogue you’ve written to share?
Please, tell me in the comments below and remember to share the links to your posts if you’re using today’s prompt in your own posts.
Bye for now,
© Evalena Styf, 2021
Writing prompt from #NaNoWriMo Preptober InstaWrimo Challenge: 13 October, 2021. “Overheard Dialogue”
The #InstaWrimo is a photo challenge for Instagram, but it works just as well as a daily writing prompt.
Here are the daily writing prompts for NaNoWriMo’s preptober challenge. It’s never too late to start, so let’s get into it. Together.