Monday, November 3, 2014

Dialogue It Out

When I get stuck during a scene I'm writing, it's usually in description or narration. And too many times I feel the need to force words (like during Nanowrimo, which I'm not doing this year) and end up with crap that needs cut or heavily revised. But then the voices get going inside my head, and I "dialogue it out".

That means exactly what it sounds like. I speed type (or write by hand) whatever I think is going on with the characters. Actually, I don't even try to think about it. I just try to be the characters and say what they want to say. Skipping dialogue tags, punctuation and quotation marks helps get me through quicker. Later on is the time for revision.

I do this dialogue it out trick at home, too, with my family. For example, I might say "Did you pick up those socks yet?" to which I'll be rewarded with some variation of ignorance or dismissive head nod or shake.

Then I kick in my dialogue trick and all of a sudden I hear "Yes, dear father. I picked up the socks, and the dirty underwear and put them in the pile of dirty laundry. Then, since I love you so much and really want to help out around the house, I called all the other kids together and we started washing a load of laundry, and then, we moved the clean clothes out of the dryer to sort and fold for you. So why don't you sit down at your desk with your computer and iPod and work on your new book while we take care of the laundry?"

So I sit down to write, and soon, another roadblock appears. "Hey, you guys, baby smells poopy. Can someone change her?" -crickets-

Time for the old dialogue trick- I squeeze my eyes closed, and soon everyone comes running to the rescue.

"Dad, we heard you call and came as fast as we could. I figured it was my turn, but everyone started arguing over who would change baby's diaper for you, so guess what? We are all going to help by not only changing her diaper, but by giving her a bath and taking turns reading to each other while she's in the bathroom. Will that be okay?"

I smile and nod, diving back into my work. Then, wouldn't you know it, time for supper.

"Hey!" I call. "Can someone get out the peanut butter and jelly?"

I wait, then call again, hoping. "Anyone hungry?"

Closing my eyes, I finally hear "Dad, please don't interrupt us while we are eating. We are playing the quiet game and want you to work on your book. Really. And besides, we already made supper after we gave the baby a bath. Oh, yeah, almost forgot - there will be leftover bacon, pancakes, and coffee for you when you need a break from writing. And just in case you forgot to post on your blog or whatever and need to stay up late again, we'll go ahead and put ourselves, and the baby, and the toddler to bed. We'll brush our teeth and go to the bathroom and pray without your help tonight, too. So, you just go ahead and work on your writing stuff. Okay? Goodnight, Dad. See you in the morning, with more hot coffee and fresh bacon and eggs!"

Dang, my kids are awesome. Seriously. And so are you.

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