Don’t be afraid (of dialogue)


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!

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