Thursday, August 6, 2009

Writing exercises

I never liked writing exercises. I always thought they were a waste of time. But lately, I have been REBORN. A true believer in these little exercises. I think they are especially good for dialogue. Sometimes we try to do too much with dialogue. I've been guilty of puffing my story up using dialogue. You know, thinking lots of talking will fix my problem. We want convincing dialogue. Sometimes it's best to hush up. You can't center your story on conversations. It needs a lot more.

So back to the exercises. They are helping me to see when and how much dialogue I need. Have you ever tried writing a story using nothing but dialogue? And only add detail, scenes or otherwise, through your spoken words. It's hard, but fun. It will help you to see that using dialogue is only one facet of writing a book. And after you have written your scene or even an entire chapter using nothing but dialogue, then cut,cut, and cut some more. You'll be left with the bare bones and the most important dialogue you'll need. Words have meaning. Use all your words wisely. :)

13 comments:

  1. I'm a fan of writing exercises...sometimes. It depends on what they're for and how they work. But this one sounds cool--I'll have to try it out.

    Thanks, and great post. :)

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  2. That's great - anything we can get to help us is all good.

    personally, I'm not a fan of them. I suck at impromptu writing. really, really suck. I have to 'get into character' and go back and re-read my last chapter before I can even write a word.

    but, like I said, there's no single path and I say we grab all the tools we can to help us along our way, right?

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  3. I'm not so hot on exercise of any variety. I love to work my WIP though and in the end it might be one big exercise. ;)

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  4. I was shocked to learn that some people read books only for the dialogue, so that's how important it can be.
    And I think any exercise can shake us loose, help us see more clearly. Sometimes I really resist the hard ones but I know it's because I haven't thought through my story as well as I could. If I persevere, it's enlightening.

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  5. Jenna: Try it. It is fun. :) And I was never a fan either, but this one is great. :)

    Tess: I was never a fan either. But this one is just fun to do. And I SUCK big time at spontaneous stuff, this just helps me see I don't need the needless conversation that I always want to tack on. :)

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  6. T. Anne: Funny. I've often wondered that about my writing too. :)

    Tricia: I'm amazed at all the folks that don't do writing exercises. I thought I was the only one who didn't like to do them. This one is fun though. And you're right, dialogue is very important to a story. It is one of the pieces and sometimes I treat it as the only piece. :)

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  7. I love writing dialogue. It's become a recent favorite. But you're right, it has to be useful dialogue that moves the story. Not just fluff.

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  8. Cindy: Isn't it so easy to stick some junky dialogue in when you're typing away? I am trying to catch myself when I do that. Also trying to catch myself with those dreaded WAS words. :)

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  9. No, I've never tried that before! But I love dialogue so I'm wondering what would happen. Cool idea. :-)

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  10. Jessica: Yeah, it's fun. Just to see how hard it is. And you really realize that a lot of dialogue is just filler! :)

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