Dialogue used to freak me out.
I thought it was a bit of jerk.
I wrote my stories with minimal dialogue and it worked, for a time. The problem with a lack of dialogue is stories tend to get thick and dense pretty fast. Now thick and dense isn’t always a bad thing, but sometimes it’s good to mix it up.
So I held my breath and dove into the world of dialogue. I started with just dialogue, nothing more, no descriptions, just simple back and forth between two characters. I loved it. It flowed, the characters developed themselves and I found it an absolute joy to write. After my fudge-thick dialogue free stories it felt effervescent to write in pure conversation. After that, I wrote another dialogue-only story. Interestingly, both stories took a turn into the comedic (which I didn’t know I could even accomplish). This was quite a change from the more moody and dark stories I had been working on before. So not only did my experimentation lead me to a new found interest in dialogue, but it also led me to an understanding that I can, in fact, write something mildly funny!
Next it was onto a more integrated approach. I wanted to write something that included both dialogue and non-dialogue descriptions. I had my doubts about my ability in this department too. Would it flow well? Would it feel natural? The story took a little while to develop (see: Let your story stew) but once I got to writing, it just poured out onto the page as though it had always been there. It was exciting and I got to know my characters in a way I wasn’t entirely used to. I got a chance to hear their voices.
Overall I was so inspired by this process that I have decided to pursue thoughts on a new novel. My last book (sitting unedited on my computer) had little in the way of dialogue for the most part (it is a book of short stories and I only started experimenting more with dialogue half way through). Now that I have developed a new perspective on conversation in writing I feel as though I am ready to give a longer format story another try.
Dialogue used to freak me out, but now I think it’s awesome.
What are you afraid of? Do you ever wonder if your fear is holding you back from a style you might love? From stories that are waiting to be told? Take your fears and give them a kick in the butt. Write something you have always wanted to try. Do it now!
Have you done it yet? Great, let me know how it went!