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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tuesday Teaser - Dialogue

When I first began writing, I followed some great advice and began listening carefully to people talk. It wasn't just what they said that interested me, but how they said it - the accent, the regional dialect, their choice of words or lack of words. It's often a place where writers experience problems; they've been taught to write so it's grammatically correct, but dialogue usually isn't - unless you're portraying some ultra elites, which doesn't capture much of the public's interest.

Then sometimes the conversation takes a turn I didn't even suspect, and it seems almost to write itself, such as the scene below from Dylan's Song. Dylan Maguire answers a Skype call from Sam:


Dylan's cell phone rang and he reached for it, his brows furrowing. “It’s Sam on Skype.” He answered the call. “Aye?”
“Dylan, it’s Sam.”
“Aye, I know it’s Sam ‘cause I’m lookin’ at your face.”
“Whatever. Look, we’ve got a little situation.”
“Are you in the fish house?” Dylan asked, peering closely at the screen.
“Yeah. Everything’s fine. Look—”
“Is that a cat I see in the fish house?”
Sam frowned. “So what if it is?”
“Cats eat fish.”
“Not my cat. My cat does not eat fish.”
“What did you feed ‘er for breakfast?”
“Tuna, if it’s any of your business.”
“Tuna is a fish.”
“Well, it doesn’t look like these fish.”
“Does your cat know that?”

2 comments:

onespoiledcat said...

I remember that bit of dialogue...it was "just right" in that scene. Sometimes the best dialogue just "happens" - exactly how it does in "real life"....which of course makes it more REAL and believable AND helps us know the characters.

Pam

p.m.terrell said...

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Pam! I agree about the best dialogue just "happening" - it's when we struggle with it that it seems to come out stilted.