Do you prefer writing description or dialogue? What do you have the most difficulty with? Why do you suppose that is? What do you do to strengthen it or do you avoid it at all costs?
This week’s discussion is one of my favorites. I’ve been waiting for this question because I love to write dialogue. No, seriously, I do an I have been waiting for this question, or one like it. I know, I’m weird like that. But dialogue is one of my favorite things to write and I think I’m pretty good at it.
“I thought you were joking about the bathtub,” Jonas said, frowning as Charlotte slid back into the passenger side, once again shaking her head. This had been the fifth hotel they had stopped at.
“Why would I joke about a bathtub?”
“I don’t know. What do you have against them?”
“Do you know there are over eight hundred thousand accidental drowning deaths in a year caused by slipping in a bathtub?”
“Do you realize there’s more water in a toilet than in an empty bathtub?”
“Okay, but my body won’t fit in a toilet.”
He stared at her, one eyebrow raised.
“I’m just saying is all,” she replied, rather defensively.
“You don’t look like the type of person who has an excess fear of anything.”
“We all fear something, Jonas,” she said rather practically. “Whether it’s spiders or heights or germs. Mine happens to be bathtubs, although surprisingly, there isn’t is a technical phobia term for it.”
“Yeah, go figure,” he said deadpan.
(From my book, “Otherworldly)
I love getting inside my character’s mind and working through their words. Most of my plot twists or plot changes come from whatever pops out of their mouth, stuff I didn’t see coming until I’m writing and…there it is. I was at a dinner this past Saturday and when the person I was sitting next to asked if I had crazy ideas in my head all the time I immediately said, yes. Characters talk to me all the damn time. He tried to avoid me the rest of the night.
For me, dialogue is easy because I guess I live in my mind. What I mean, is that I’m a badass when it comes to internal dialogue. But as soon as I open my mouth I usually fuck everything up. It took me a long time to get over foot in mouth disease, although I still have lapses from time to time. I suppose that’s given me a flair to writing character dialogue.
Description, on the other hand, sucks. It’s boring and difficult for me to stretch out what’s happening through the day. Some authors write fabulous description. I don’t think I’m one of them. I struggle with it and to help I go back repeatedly to edit and add. I have to remind myself constantly to describe what the house looks like, or what the characters look like or even what style clothes they have on.
Dialogue is fun and it bridges the gap between thought and action. Most of the time I wish I had a ten minute heads up so I could pre-think all of my dialogue for an evening and write it down so I don’t end up lapsing back into Did I really just say that? mode.