I’m Learning to Write Dialogue!
Those following my Twitter feed, @scoutsemmes have probably noticed that I’m really into Jim Driver’s, How to Write Dialogue that Sparkles. According to my Kindle Fire, I’m 29% through the book. And ALREADY it’s more than worth the $3.99 I spent to buy it.
As I read Dialogue this morning and this afternoon, I bent over my kindle and found myself reading and rereading passages. I sat on a hard plastic chair waiting for my son to get out of his class and instead of focusing on how incredibly uncomfortable the chair was for my butt, I connected the dots. I was doing a lot wrong with my dialogue. I started ticking things off, things that he listed as “wrong” as I read the book. And I thought, my dialogue sucks.
I’m Learning to Format Dialogue
I wasn’t even formatting it correctly. I have a BA in English and I was not using the ellipse right. That’s just sad ya’ll. Did you know that you do not use an ellipse to signify interruption of the speaker? Man, I had no idea. Maybe I learned at one point. But does anyone else feel like they’ve forgotten more than half of what they learned in college? Or was I just too sleep deprived and brain-crammed with testing material to make what I really needed to remember fit?
Why I Don’t Like to Write Dialogue (but I love to read it.)
As I read, I realized more and more why I don’t particularly like writing dialogue in my novel. It’s because I really don’t know how to write dialogue. But, for most of us, a book that really draws you in has a lot of dialogue. It draws you into the story and into the character, right?
Exceptions to the “more dialogue is better” rule
For me, I usually like to read more dialogue in a book than paragraphs of dense text. There are a few exceptions. For instance, the very successful Dean Koontz does not really use a lot of white space in his books. In my opinion, he stays inside of his characters’ heads a lot and does a lot of description. But here’s the kicker. The descriptions are out of this world amazing. It makes me feel like I’m there. And he writes killer suspense. The Odd Thomas series comes to mind.
I’m going to finish, Dialogue. I resolve not only to learn the correct way to format dialogue, but to use more of it in my book. White space is king.
I’m sure there are a lot of people with more experience than me with writing dialogue. How do you do it?
p.s. I also love his Jim Driver’s book, How to Write a Novel the Easy Way, Using the Pulp Fiction Method.