Showing Emotion

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I find so many helpful writing tips on Pinterest, and showing emotion through dialogue hasn’t come as naturally to me as I thought it would as far as what the character is doing while either speaking or listening to whoever is in the scene with them. However, this post from The Writer’s Handbook Tumblr blog,  who shared it from  One Stop For Writer’s Pinterest board explains the way to show important emotions that for some reason haven’t come easy to me.

Emotions such showing interest or disinterest in a character, showing nervousness, frustration or anger, (such as trembling or clenching their fists), sadness, etc. While I’m reading a good book for the first time, the plot itself holds my attention, which is exactly what our books should do for readers. When the writing is so well done that I barely pay attention to the grammar and writing style of the author the first time I read it, that is a story that I will read again from my writer’s mind.

 

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Great Dialogue

I’ve been studying my writing books as I edit The Enchanted Locket and wanted to share some essentials to writing great dialogue from the book, Revision & Self-Editing by James Scott Bell.

Dialogue is another form of character action in fictional stories. It must be essential to the story with three goals in mind: advance the plot, reveal the characters, and reflect the theme of your story.

To advance the plot, dialogue reveals important information for the story, such as background, exposition, or help us understand what’s happening in a scene. An example of this is:

“Bill,” Sheila said. “What are you doing here? I thought you were going to be in Baltimore.”
“We have some unfinished business, sweetheart.”

We know from this exchange that as far as Sheila was concerned, Bill was supposed to be in Baltimore, and he has something on his mind that he wants to discuss that may be terrible for her.

Dialogue reveals both character and character relationships by the way people talk. One character may talk in casual and short, clipped sentences, while another character speaks in a refined, formal manner.

Dialogue illuminates theme such as the simple life of the hobbits made them much less tempted to use the evil ring and man’s desire for power in the epic tale, The Lord of the Rings trilogy. All of the nine men who took Sauron’s rings desired power and were the easiest to to seduce and corrupt to the evil of the ring.

It comes from one character to another character
gives a good example of what not to write:

Ted stood there.

 “Oh hello, Ted, our family doctor from Baltimore,” Mary said. “Please come in.”

 Ted walked through the door.

 “Mary,” Ted said, “I’m so glad you were home here on Mockingbird Lane.”

 “I am too, Ted. I am comforted that you’re here. Having a doctor who is six feet, four inches and in good shape, but even better knows what he’s talking about, is a wonderful thing for a forty-year-old woman in crisis to have visit her.”

The author is attempting to slip information to the readers by hitting them over the head with it. It’s so bad you can’t help but snicker at it. While dialogue is an excellent way to impart information, it must be written from one the view point of one character to another.

Which books have you been moved with dialogue? Do you have any favorites you wish to share?

Meticulous Detail Harvester

I have been reading another book about how to write a novel recently, and came across a great and catchy sentence from Ron Rozelle’s Description and Setting under the Write Great Fiction series. “To be a good writer, you have to be a persistent and meticulous harvester of detail.”

The author elaborates by teaching that we have to pay close attention to everything that is going around us, or what he terms the ‘fresh little details.’ This can also work for storing small bits of information regarding the details of a room. A few days ago I went to a high school basketball game with my son and his cub scout troop, and as we watched the game I took out my little notebook and wrote down the colors of the players’ uniforms, the cheerleaders’ uniforms, and even what the die-hard fans were wearing. I noticed several strange glances while I wrote, but I remained focused, because this is the high school that I am basing my young adult time travel book from.

We can pick up some of our greatest dialogue by eavesdropping on people’s conversation, say, in line at the grocery store. I often do that anyway, but the book suggests that I buy a small notebook (already have one) and write down the details of the conversation, such as what was said, how it was said, etc. and reflect on the seemingly unimportant conversations that may help me when I add the details to my story.