Not a lot of time to blog today – I’ve got to get caught up on some work this weekend, and I’m going through paperwork as we pack for out house move in a couple of weeks.
I’m the process of going through said paperwork, though, I came across my notes from the various creative writing courses I took at Washington University. While most of the notes are either utterly obvious or incomprehensible (or, more often, both), I did find a page of notes on dialogue that was interesting. This is a complete, word-for-word transcription of what I wrote down, including missing words, misspellings, and bad punctuation (I scribbled this down during a lecture).
- Dialogue reveals character, emotion between characters
- Short, pointed, and loaded
- Warn overture will be met with a cool response, both in dialogue and between writer and reader. If you’re cold to the characters, the reader warms up
- Dialogue needs tension
- Dialogue often has a subtext to what is really going on.
- Each character has a secret they do and do not want to reveal
- Tend to be guarded instead of saying what we mean, just like politeness to mask anger. That masked emotion can mask a different emotion.
- Most people don’t listen when the other is speaking.
- Don’t do narration in dialog. (No plot exposition!)
- Dialogue ties (“he said/she said”) Usually you want to hide these. If you use these to express thoughts, stick to one. Can be put in the middle. Instead of a tag, use a gesture.