Thursday, 6 January 2011

D is for Dialogue

Two years ago I would have been the first to confess - I can’t write dialogue – it’s just too complicated and difficult. Then something quite strange happened. At my local writing group our homework had been set to write a piece of pure dialogue, not a story, just a conversation. Needless to say I didn’t do the homework! I was frustrated writer and very confused.

I sat in our group that week and listened to Martina read a short piece called ‘Granma’s Peas,’ and I had my light bulb moment! To this day I shall be eternally grateful to Martina.

The simplicity of her words were astounding to me and in that moment I realised what dialogue was meant to be about – real life. She had succeeding in showing me that how to take a regular everyday event and turn it in to something very special. It was intimate and felt true. I thought I was sitting at that family table, a guest at a private family dinner. It was brilliant. The memory of it has stayed with me to this day.

From that day on, to this, I just got on with it, kept my dialogue simple and wrote exactly what I heard or overheard people say. If it hadn’t have been for Martina and my light bulb I would probably still be struggling with my characters’ dialogue.

Now I am told, by those who have read or who edit my work, that I have a good ear for dialogue. This is lovely to know but who would have thought that it was possible, certainly not me!

If I can do it so can you… go for it?

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