This Writer’s Relationship with Dialogue
I love writing dialogue. In fact, I love it so much that I only started writing a novel this year, at the age of 27 (I’ve been writing since I was 9). So despite being in love with writing, it never occurred to me to try writing a novel because I had thought that only people who could (and would) write pages of narrative got published.
It was a misguided belief, but I blame it all on my dad’s library, which was full of international bestsellers that reeked of unbearably long and detailed narratives. Of course as I grew up, I discovered a lot of bestselling writers who found the perfect narrative/dialogue ratio, as well writers whose narrative flowed so well it read like juicy dialogue.
But despite finding writers whose books I could read hundreds of pages from in one sitting, I still doubted myself. Because I like dialogue so much, I preferred writing plays over stories, and screenplays over novels.
And yet the dream of being published, seeing my book printed and on the shelves, stayed with me. And with the inspiration I got from authors like Sophie Kinsella and Shari Low, I decided to just go for it.
I love the works of Kinsella and Low because they create fun characters, interesting plots, and hilariously authentic romantic comedies. OK, call it modern romance, chicklit, escapism….whatever. I love reading those kinds of stories, as well as creating them.
But I still had my doubts. Because unlike what Kinsella usually does, my heroine is not the heart of the story. And I didn’t want a first person story written in present tense. Because the story belongs to my male protagonist as much as the female. And despite having a lot in common, they have distinctly different personalities. They are also established professionals. So I have to adjust my tone every time I switch point of view. And guess what? I am writing with multiple viewpoints.
Why I Bought Writing Great Fiction
I needed some serious help. I didn’t want my characters to sound the same. I didn’t want any boring or unauthentic lines coming out of my characters’ mouths. I also didn’t want my story to look like it is all dialogue. I also had questions about formatting…Then I stumbled upon Gloria Kempton’s Write Great Fiction – Dialogue on Writer’s Digest’s shop.
I’ve been studying the book for a couple of months, and applying its tips on my book. I´ll be going whenever I get stuck, and I’ll also use it for editing and improving my manuscript. And here is why this is one of the best resources:
What It Offers:
- Lots of dialogue samples from a large variety of published and successful books
- What to pay attention when you are writing dialogue (including its relationship with narrative and action)
- What not to do
- Lot of tips and exercises
- Formatting your dialogue
- How to know if your dialogue is working
- How not to get carried away with fancy words and useless adverbs
- Knowing your characters’ personality type, and writing accordingly
- And a lot more.
The Book’s Language
One of my pet peeves is people who don’t practice what they preaches. But luckily Kempton isn’t one of them, as her tone throughout the whole book is while authorative, it is also fun, conversational and personal.
You know you can trust her advice (not just because her book was published by Writer’s Digest), but also it is clear that she has used her own advice and it works. How else would it be enjoyable to study a non-fiction book without wanting to put it away?