Dialogue. by Keith Julius
It’s such an important part of writing a novel. And yet many people, particularly beginning authors, struggle with it.
Don’t get me wrong. Writing convincing dialogue can be tough. You agonize over the words, trying desperately to bring your characters to life through not only what they say but, more importantly, how they say it. I’ve spent hours on small pieces of conversation in my book, the ultimate goal of all this effort is to have two people talking in what sounds like natural, relaxed dialogue.
It isn’t always easy to accomplish.
I think one trick to fast-paced dialogue is to leave out the descriptions. Descriptions are great. We can’t write without them. But when your characters talk what they say should be all the description we require.
In “The Robber Of Youth” I feature a young teenage girl, Rosaletta Guiterrez, who has not only lost her brother in a tragic accident but has been thrown out of the house by a verbally abusive mother. She feels alone and helpless. In this excerpt from the novel she agonizes over her situation, pouring her heart out to a friend she’s met along the way.
“But that’s not right. That’s not fair!”
“Who ever said life was fair? The cards are all stacked against you, Rosie. You’re playing their game, so you have to follow their rules.”
“I’m tired of their crappy game. I’m tired of the way Mama puts me down and criticizes me. Why don’t they just leave me alone?”
“You might as well get that notion out of your head right now. They’re not going to leave you alone.”
“I know. I know. But sometimes…. Sometimes….”
“Sometimes I wish I could just take off and leave it all behind me. Just say goodbye to this crappy town and this crappy life and go out on my own.”
“Then why don’t you?”
“I am being serious.”
“But where would I go? I’d have to get me a job somewhere to start earning some money.”
“There are jobs all over. That shouldn’t be a problem. As long as you’re willing to work.”
“Of course I’m willing to work. How hard can it be? I just wish I knew somebody I could stay with for a while. Until I get on my feet.”
In this short scene, we can feel not only Rosie’s frustration but her desperation as well. We don’t know where they are. Or even what they are doing during the conversation. But, then again, we don’t need to know these things. Any exposition would just slow things down.
Just let the dialogue speak for itself. (No pun intended).
Please visit www.keithjulius.com to learn more about me and my writing. Here you’ll find links to buying my books as well as sample chapters of each of my novels.
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