Monday, March 15, 2010

In Which Dialogue Takes Over


I like to write dialogue. It's something I find easy, and fun to do.

One thing that drives me crazy, though, is when the dialogue goes somewhere I'm not planning or somewhere completely unexpected.

Sometimes this is a good thing of course. Maybe the characters' conversation reveals some surprising characterization or plot point. Then it's fun.

BUT when I'm trying to write a conversation that needs to go a certain way, when the dialogue needs to reveal something important for the scene, that's when it irritates me when the dialogue goes off script.

Because I find that dialogue flows so easily, it's really hard for me to change it, add in sentences, remove other parts, and still make it sound realistic, or at least, not forced.

Does anyone else have any troubles with their dialogue occasionally taking over?

20 comments:

Y.F.N. Palindrome aka Hannah said...

Only in real life do I ever have that problem. You know how much looooove writing dialogue & by love I mean hate with a burning passion.
Practice makes perfect right? RIGHT?!

Falen said...

LMAO! that is still weird to me, because i LOVE it

Piedmont Writer said...

YES! I had this same problem. What was supposed to be a very simple welcome home conversation turned into so much more and that in turn drove me to take the WIP in a totally different direction. Good, yes, but now I have to THINK. And it's Monday. UGh!

Y.F.N. Palindrome aka Hannah said...

Forgot to subscribe.

Teebore said...

I love writing dialogue. I think it comes from all the comics I've read since I was twelve. It's all that descriptive crap that fills the pages between dialogue that drives me nuts.

I definitely know what you mean about dialogue being hard to edit. I find that if I just relax and let the character talk through me, the dialogue comes out sending like that character.

But once I need to go back and tweak the dialogue for whatever reason, then I have to consciously think "how would this person say that?" and that's always tricky(er), and thus, less fun.

M.R.J. Le Blanc said...

I generally don't fight the dialogue's new direction even if it's veering off the rails some. Somewhere at some point it seems to work out - plus I never win with the muses. The only time I put on the breaks is when it looks like the story's about to do a swan dive off a cliff.

Davin Malasarn said...

I have trouble with many parts of my writing taking over! In the first draft, I just let it happen, for the most part. But, sometimes it can result in a ton of revision.

Alexandra Shostak said...

Haha, I have noticed that problem every so often. You are so right; it definitely happens especially when you REALLY NEED them to arrive at a certain conclusion. Then, for whatever reason, the characters want to talk about ANYTHING but.

I'm like you, though; dialogue is so much fun to write! And I love it when it flows. :)

Falen said...

Piedmont - yeah it's monday, but at least it sounds like you got some writing done so that's good, right?

Teebore - i guess i never think about the "hwo woudl this person say that" but i do always think "How can i segue this conversation into a more important topic" sort of deal

MR - if it's not important, i don't fight it. But if i absolutely need them to discuss something to move the plot forward, then there will be a fight... to the death?

David - boo on tons of revision. I just want enough to make me have fun, not so much that i have to do rewrites.

Alexandra - i don't know why ti happens at the most inopportune times, it really drives me crazy. Damn you drunken muse!

Stark Raving Zen said...

This is exactly what Stephen King wrote about in 'On Writing'. This is something he says one should never tamper with or try to control, because the book is supposed to take you where it wants to go. Of course, that's why his books are a kabillion pages long... It's funny. I loved that book so much but haven't read one of his novels since I was 16.

arlee bird said...

I really enjoy dialogue and find it easier to write than just the regular prose. I do find myself going off in tangets because I try to imagine real conversation and in real life dialogue often wanders in a sort of free assoication manner at times.
That's what I like about Quentin Taratino's movie dialogues -- sometimes they get so off the wall and yet are able to convey what is important about the scene.
Lee

Kittie Howard said...

Zen's right about what King said. But I'm one of those who doesn't really enjoy Stephen King. I think he rambles. Some years ago, I read that typical dialogue shouldn't be more than three sentences long. Any more than that got the writer in trouble. I find that somewhat true when I'm reading, definitely true if the dialogue runs more than five sentences.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

It really sucks when my characters get talking about something that interests me but few others! ^_^

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I understand! It sucks when you know where the dialogue is supposed to go, but it just doesn't want to go there. You're right - redoing it often doesn't help much.

Southpaw said...

"Only in real life do I ever have that problem." Awesome comment.

Falen said...

Zen - that is such a good book! also, most of his newer stuff is, meh, compared to his older work.

arlee - free association is an almost perfect description

Kittie - that's interesting about the dialogue lengths. I've never heard that

Barbara - yeah that can be irritating. Fun to write, but sad when you have to cut it

Alex - i know! makes me want to give my muse a little slap, try and sober her up a bit...

Al said...

It's not just the dialogue!
It's the characters, more often the do what they want, not what I want.
Sometimes it feels like herding cats!

Al

Publish or Perish

DL Hammons said...

I feel that sometimes I write too much dialoge because it feels so natural to me. Is that cheating?

DEZMOND said...

As someone who's job is to dissect books and examine each and every word, I must admit dialogues are something most writers don't pay enough attention to. I've noticed that many new authors tend to narrate a lot and tell the story in the form of description. That makes books extremely dull and boring. So no matter how difficult it might be, always give your best in writing dialogues.

Falen said...

Al - damn those characters! Who do they think they are? Real people?

DL - i'm like that too, and i don't think it is cheating, but there must be some reason why that comes to mind...

Dezmond - boo on naration. Dialogue is much mor fun!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...