Friday, May 28, 2010
The Dialogue Is Taking Over!
I'm so glad to say it didn't. I woke up yesterday with a million errands to run and no time to write. When I finally hit the swimming pool for my daughter's swim team practice at 5:00, I opened my computer for the first time and in 45 minutes, I managed to write somewhere along the lines of 1500 words. Which is pretty good for me. I focused on one of the scenes I'd started and couldn't move forward on, and finally the dam burst. Today I'm hoping to finish that scene.
I tried to figure out what the problem was with writing. Or the not writing, as the case happened to be. I'd spent Tuesday off in a beautiful place with a great friend taking pictures. There's nothing more cathartic and freeing than that for me. I thought I'd come back refreshed.
And I started another book, which I let go of my interior editor and just let myself read and enjoy, and usually that inspires me to write.
Instead, I felt like someone had put a wall between my brain and my fingers. The story was there, it just couldn't escape.
I think part of my problem was that the dialogue has started taking over the book. Every nice little paragraph of narrative leads to pages of dialogue. This book has the most chatty characters in history. I try to get them to shut up, but they won't. Talk talk talk talk talk.
It's driving me crazy.
And to heap guilt upon guilt, I read a quip from an editor that said nothing kills a good book faster than using dialogue as exposition.
And I went through the book I've been reading and it's nearly all exposition and narrative. Dialogue sprinkled lightly as needed, but mostly narrative.
And I began to panic.
I felt like donning a 16th century wig and riding through Boston on a horse screaming, "The dialogue is taking over! The dialogue is taking over!"
(I don't know where that came from. My 2nd grade lunch box I think, where there were comic strips about 1776 and the British redcoats and cartoon Paul Revere in a wig screaming "The British are coming...")
Anyhoo - I was trying so hard to write narrative without dialogue that I couldn't move forward. I was trying to add in reflection and observation when the characters just wanting to keep moving forward.
In short, I was trying to force the story to be something it wasn't ready yet to be.
I've given over to the whims of the characters.... for now. What I've learned is that I'm pretty darn good at revisions, and adding in details and reflections after the scene is done, and it's a lot easier to revise if there's something on the page to begin with.
What about you? Is there something that keeps you from writing? And how do you feel about a lot of dialogue?
(and why does blogger and my email program not recognize dialogue as the correct spelling??)