Writers’ Bootcamp Day 13: Dialogue

Probably the most compelling reason for me to put off ever trying to write a novel. I’m not sure I know how to conduct “natural” dialogue in my real life, never mind on a page.

It also explains why I abandoned this project last year, when this particular topic came up. I’m of the opinion that dialogue should just be, without there having to be any prompts or further dialogue, dissecting the dialogue preceding it. Can people just say what they mean already and be done? Isn’t that the point?

Even when you’re writing a story, I reckon, the dialogue just happens. The voices in your head say what they have to say to one another and there it is. Isn’t that how writing happens? The words tumble out, almost as if you’re just the machine relaying them, the speaker system, spitting them out as relayed from the input source? For me, that’s how the best writing happens.

But it’s obviously not that simple and a pretty big deal, dialogue, given how much emphasis is placed on its importance and value in writing and in life. I’m a little stunted in that department, I think. I’m not very verbally expressive of the things I feel most acutely. The more intense the emotion, the more stunted my expression. And I’m not good at hearing the feely stuff from others, either. Dialogue. It’s like a swear word.

I can pour out my soul on a blank page but don’t ask me to utter the words, “I love you” to my beloved or to describe with words from my mouth the lengths I would go to for any one of my children. And watch me squirm when any one of them does it. Even as my heart explodes all over my insides with emotion.

Bring me the actions, the songs, the letters, the books, the gestures. Those, I know what to do with.

Dialogue? Pfffft.


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