Want some good exercises for working on dialogue? Try these:
1. Take an old favorite book. Reread it now, but only the parts which are dialogue. Even try to ignore the tags like “he said,” etc.
2. Watch an old familiar movie. With the sound turned off. Make up what they could saying, even if you know it has nothing to do with the plot. If you have a spouse or good friend, do it together, each of you supplying the dialogue for a different character or characters. (OK — there will probably be a lot of laughing too — but try to concentrate on making the words actually communicate something, even if it’s nonsense.)
3. Sit in a food court at the mall, or a restaurant at a busy time of day, like lunch. Try to look like you’re writing a letter or doing homework, but really listen to the broken and half-sentences, interjections (remember? Oh! Wow! WTF??? etc.) If you can, keep your back turned to a couple or small party, listen and try to imagine what they all look like, what their relationships are, etc.
Which one did you learn the most from? Which things you learned could be included in a current or new writing project?
from Cheryl Van Eck
When I first started writing, I had trouble with my character’s days. I wanted to begin each day with her waking up, and end each day with her going to sleep because that’s how my days start and end.
But in a novel, that structure doesn’t work well. It becomes repetitive and boring. Even if you fill those mornings and those evenings with conversations and action, the pace still feels like it just plods along.
Here’s a week-long assignment: Try to focus on the most interesting moment of your day. Pick just one, every day. There are tons of Instagram and Facebook fads that follow this idea, where you post a picture or video of something each day, and you’re welcome to try those if you want, or you can just write it down in an impromptu journal. And it’s okay if the most exciting part of your day was the French toast you had for breakfast or the hangnail that finally broke off after a week. What’s important is that you fine-tune your ability to find the most writeable moment. If you find enough of those moments, BAM! You have a novel.
Here is a video my daughter showed me.
(You can watch a much longer version of this. With sound. Chatting.)
The worst kisser? The actress! She was awful.
Which was the best kiss?
Almost every book for middle grade and young adult readers should have a bit of romance in it.