The Goldilocks of Dialogue

20th Trial: How much dialogue is too much? It is often that we say little more than we should and/or spew a great deal extra than should be allowed.

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 2.5 hours

Weekly choice of tea: Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Chai (pumpkin has come to Trader Joe’s!)

Greatest Success: At the White Water Center, I kicked away my fear of heights and accomplished the ropes courses and went rafting!!! It is a place in Charlotte where the USA team trains for the Olympics, and is open to the public. So a whole day was dedicated to outdoor adventures! Just a couple fun tid bits from this weekend:

There are so many times that while writing an interaction between two characters that I sit back and wonder, how on earth is this dialogue going to end? Do I continue down a casual road, such as person sits, stands, talks, pours tea–or just get straight to the point? There is such a talent that I am realizing with long dialogue. A whole paragraph of uninterrupted speech in which unrevealing occurs, but does not show absolutely everything, is a beast within itself! I admire the cool mysterious dialogue of Raymond Chandler, who wrote The Big Sleep, where after every word spoken the reader feels as if they are standing at the edge of a cliff, in absolute suspense of what it could mean and what it will result in. And on the other hand, the whimsical entertaining discussion of tapestries and who-wore-what-lace in Austen’s repartee has its own significant effects. In both circumstances, the dialogue is not too much or too less. I am Goldie Locks, tasting for what will be just right when it comes to the feel of my novel. And if anyone has ever read Goldilocks, you will hear the dialogue debate within my mind. This sentence is too short! This subject is not right for discussion! This soup is too hot!

On a short, different note, I am influenced more than I realized by what I am writing. I admit that I am a leech, taking in my surroundings and relying on the people I meet to propel my story forward. My imagination to this point has had to work very little. However, one scene I wrote that was not from my neighborhood–you could call it the “meet-cute”–was with my character hearing piano music from a neighboring household. The gorgeous melody will then naturally begin the strings of romance! Now you can understand my astonishment when I was leaving my apartment to take my dog on a walk, when I heard from another door the beautiful sound of a piano! I stopped, stunned by the situation. How brilliant! Not only do I take from my surroundings, but now my story seems to take form around me! And the music was indeed beautiful, just as I imagined in would be. I am happy to say that my story does not leave me, and reveals itself in senses and physical manifestations, as much as I will perceive it to.

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Embracing Austen

19th Trial: When burdened with hitting a wall in your writing, seclude yourself in an area conducive to writing. But more importantly, when you feel that you have hit a wall, pick up a writer you aspire to and let their language guide you

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 1.5 hours

Weekly Choice of Tea: Turmeric and Ginger

Biggest Success: Embracing Austen Dialogue

Currently, the novel I am reading is Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. Though I have seen the BBC version of the book a many, many times, I am always pleasantly surprised with the development of her characters in text. I love the general summing up movies produce, and they typically do a faithful job giving the character their due respect when it comes to character qualities; however, I know Fanny (main woman in the book) so much more faithfully now, and I see the absolute necessity in reading the thoughts behind her dialogue and actions.

Reading Austen does not just fulfill my understanding of her stories displayed by British Broadcasting. Oh, how better and improved my dialogue is! Last night I sat my book down as Jamie asked me a question.

“So, what movie do you want to watch tonight?”

I responded, “Whichever would oblige you most, my dear.”

“But I want to know what you’re interested in watching.”

Again, I responded “Quite right, my love! Shall we progress further through the episodes, or view a movie not yet seen before?”

This was a rough summation of the conversation I remember, however I felt as if the attitude of Henry Crawford radiated into my own dialogue as he would talk to Fanny. I could not think of how to replace words such as ‘oblige’ or ‘progress’ or ‘quite right’ at the moment I said them. I laughed at myself naturally, but honestly, I marveled at how improved I seemed by the novels I read!! I sincerely attribute British authors to a portion of the success I will hopefully feel when this novel is finished! And I am happy to announce that chapter four is closely being finished. This coming week should be QUITE productive! The picture featured above is where Jamie sits to design and work on her website, but little does she know that while she is away, I take down the electronics and make it my space!