Saturday, April 23, 2011

Writing Dialogue

One of the sessions I attended a week ago at the Writers’ League of Texas YA conference was on “The Mechanics of Dialogue.” It was conducted by Tim Wynne-Jones, author of more than thirty books, so you can bet he knows what’s he’s talking about. We all know what dialogue means. According to Webster’s dictionary, the definition is “a conversation between two or more people.” Sounds easy, right? But when you’re writing, the dialogue in your story has to sound believable and authentic. “It also has to either reveal character or push the plot forward,” according to Wynne-Jones. Otherwise, there is no reason for it to be in there. “Never use dialogue to give information dump to a reader,” he said. “Use it only for revelation and plot movement.”

He spoke of dialogue taking place in “real time.” He pointed out that a scene takes place in real time while a summary takes place in storyteller time, i.e., suspended time. Example: “It was five years ago that …” When writing scenes, he urged us to think of our reader as a fly on the wall. I will keep this in mind next time I write a scene.

Santa Fe
Have a good writing day with those scenes in your story!

“The feeling for words, the driving need to tell a story, the love of characters who constantly inhabit your mind waiting to be born, these are the inherent things that make us writers.” – Eve Bunting

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