Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday Talks Banter

Hello, lovely people! I’m sorry I’ve been missing in action yet again, but the life of an Irish dancing A.P. student in March is not a life with a lot of free time. It’s a sad fact, but a truthful one.

Now that I’m done whining, I want to talk to you about dialogue. One of the things I’ve noticed when reading young writers’ work is that sometimes people kind of...well… screw up the dialogue. Dialogue is conversation, not exposition. It’s not the place to give an entire back story.

And if you can’t remember the correct way to format dialogue, please, PLEASE, go look it up on Purdue Owl. I can’t tell you how distracting it is to read through a short story or novel where people don’t indent dialogue or use quotation marks. French people use dashes to set conversation apart instead of quotation marks and so do some super avant-garde British and American writers. In some books some of the dialogue won’t be in quotation marks. This may be used to create a certain tone or voice for a story and can work beautifully (I’m thinking of A Star Called Henry and An Invisible Sign of my Own), but I wouldn’t recommend doing this unless you are positive you can do it in a way that will be coherent.

Once you’ve got the formatting down, it’s time to think about how realistic your dialogue is. I think the best way to do this is to listen to people talk. Pay attention to speech patterns. If listening to people in real life sounds boring, try listening to some books on tape.

For me, one of the best ways to get an ear for dialogue is watching movies, TV shows, a plays. BBC’s Sherlock does a wonderful job of creating witty, interesting dialogue and I would argue that The Office has some of the best conversations ever. If your piece take place in a historical period, try to read writing from that time or to find a period drama like Downton Abbey that can help you visualize and hear what that period was like. Make special notes of slang that’s relevant to your story-- I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t catch Lady Grantham saying YOLO.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thursday with AMAZING News

Can we all just take a moment to appreciate the fact that... VERONICA MARS IS GOING TO BE MADE INTO A MOVIE. I could not stop freaking out when I heard. My legs were shaking. I couldn't finish a sentence. I squealed.
If you follow anyone amazing at all, you probably already know this fact.
As a writer, I have to appreciate the beautiful craftsmanship from Veronica Mars.
The Dialogue!
The Wit!
The Relationships!
I don't have time for a real post, so I will leave you with one bit of advice (you can thank me anytime): Watch Veronica Mars. All three seasons (you can skip the last episode of season three because we all know it did not end correctly). I don't care if you have already seen it. Watch it again. New comer? Watch it! Watch from a writer's POV.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thursday Names Her Characters

I prefer to name my characters based on their name meaning. I take history of the name (such as famous people with the name) and origins in to consideration, but I mostly focus on the meaning.
I once read a writer say that most parents don't intentionally name their child "dead sexy manslut love interest", so we shouldn't give characters a name that their parents wouldn't logically give them (obviously that wasn't the name meaning they used, but you get the idea). I like the idea of this: we must take parental influence into consideration, but as a writer I can make the parents any way I want. If I want my LI's name to mean "dead sexy manslut love interest",  can make his mother into a gold digger who wants girls to find her son irresistible.
We have the power to do anything.
I have used my power to name my LI... David. The name works extremely well based on the history, meaning and parental influence.
My only problem...
I know a lot of people named David.
I am no ways naming my character after them, but it's difficult to write a really romantic scene when I remember how my cousin David made fun of me for liking Disney Channel when I was 7.
How do you name your characters/ problems you face when naming characters>?