Aug 15, 2012

And then HE said...

by Kami Cornwall

I finally sat down last night and got to writing! I'm in a "stuck" spot right now and not sure how to get the characters through it but realized that there are quite a few chapters that haven't been fleshed out very well. One in particular could get rather juicy. There's just one problem.

I get stuck on the dialogue! I get the two love-birds together and then I have no...idea...what they should say. It's...awkward. Kind of like my own love life. Then again, mine was a series of unfortunate events. (When I learned that was an actual series name I thought maybe it was a log of someone's dating life because seriously! SO glad I'm married.)

So what do you do to get the conversations going? Do you visualize yourself there? Have an idea ahead of time where it ought to go? What if you just want to establish a bond between the characters? I hate pausing long enough to read a book about writing but I'm willing to take suggestions now.


  1. I have been complimented on my dialog, but take my advice with a grain of salt!

    I do try to imagine myself there, at least to get things started. I sort of pretend to be the character in order to keep the voice consistent (this usually requires a rewrite. .. Or two... To get right).

    Most conversations start with a question:
    "How are you?"
    "Where do you work?"
    "Whats your sign?"

    The answers are short at first, and and get longer in response to deeper, more probing questions. There is a back and forth, but usually one person is telling more and the other person is asking more.

    And never let a conversation be just a page filler. There needs to be an emotional peak or a revelation of information. Drive the conversation to that point, always toward that point.

    Good luck!

  2. Kami,
    When this happens to me, I do imagine I am living the situation, or I think of a time similar to my writings. Another method for me is to people watch and listen to conversations, putting myself close to other's conversations gives me an opportunity to think outside my own head. Try it. Places to do this: a restaurant, the airport, a sidewalk cafe, a bookstore etc. MJ

  3. Good idea! Thanks for the suggestion. I like to people watch and am guilty often of overhearing funny conversations because I frequent places where people sit really close to each other. Next time I'll bring my laptop or a notebook!

  4. I don't have any advice for you since I don't write fiction...but I can tell you how annoyed I felt when I opened a book by an extremely well-know author and instead of dialogue she wrote pages and pages of expositon - i.e. "she was called into his office and he said.....and she replied that...and he said...
    I am not kidding. It is awful. soo...have fun with your dialogue and just it be real! hugs~


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