Wednesday, May 5, 2010

WIP Wednesday...Dialogue

Dialogue is a spot where I struggle in my writing. Do you write dialogue that sounds perfect in your head, but somehow when it's read out loud it stumbles. Or my drags? Let's take a look...

From my brand new WiP :0)

“Hush, hush, baby boy; momma’s here.” I placed my hand on his leg and he settled back into his slumber. I love how sweet his face is when he’s sleeping. My eyes shifted to the girls, slumped against the car seat on each side. They looked like angels. I’m always amazed at how beautiful my kids are. I guess it’s a mom thing.(too much info!)
            “Do we need to stop?” Adam asked, his knuckles white on the wheel.
            “No, he’s fine.”
            He nodded and after a moment asked quietly, “What about you?”
            I put on my best supportive wife smile. “I’m great; tired, you know, but I’m just fine. There’s no need to worry about me, honey.(eew gag me!)
            “I love you for that.”
            “I know you do.” I thought about a time when he had no idea how much I took care of him. Thankfully, we both came to our senses and realized how important we were as a team and how ineffective we were individually. (this is too much backstory that could be explained at another time..NOT during dialogue!) The thing is I can’t remember a time when he looked so vulnerable.
            “Are you alright?” I pushed.
            “I’ve been thinking about my dad and how long it’s been since…” he trailed off and shook his head. “Can you light me a cigarette?”
            I grabbed his pack and cringed at the sharp taste of mint mingled with tobacco. “You know, your family will be so happy to see you. No one blames you for not being there, right?”
            He took the cigarette from my hand and puffed on it twice. “I guess not. You know how my brother is.”
            I swallowed the retort that wanted to spring from my mouth. “Carrie says he’s changed a lot. You never know. I’m sure he’ll just be really happy to see you and your incredible kids.” It had been seven years before we knew it. We had two children and moved forward in all areas of our life. The little country town in California rescued us.
            He nodded. “I’m nervous and the thing is, I’m really sad too, but is it wrong that the nerves are outweighing my grief?”
            I covered his hand that rested on the gear shift. “Of course not.” I thought for a moment. “I think the nerves are part of the grief…and driving to the other side of the country to meet up with family you haven’t seen in years.” I laughed drily. “Am I helping?”
            He chuckled and inwardly I felt a tiny bit of relief. “You always help me, baby. That’s why I love you.” He lifted my hand and kissed the top of my third knuckle.

What about you? Anyone with a magic dialogue pen?? :0) Opinions always welcome and examples of your own dialogue as well....I'm thinking it might be a theme....Stay tuned!


  1. I struggle with thinking that I have to have action or a dialogue every time someone says something.

  2. Patti: Me too!! I see that in there too.

  3. I like your editing. And I'm with Patti, sometimes I feel like I have to put in all this extraneous stuff with dialog. Internal feelings. Reactions. Physical settings. Sometimes it's okay to just let the characters talk.

  4. Your editing was great! You know how to pick out the stuff that isn't needed and make it leaner.

    I agree with Elana and Patti, too. (Elana - I seem to be following you all over the blogosphere today saying I agree with you!)

    I'm finding my new WIP has A LOT of dialog! More than I've ever done, and I wonder sometimes if it's a lazy way of getting across information. Maybe I just found chatty characters this time. :)

  5. I love dialogue and have been told I'm pretty good at it. You too, it looks like. Although I have to agree with the above, sometimes you don't need action or tags. Sometimes you just need to let them talk.

    Great editing.

  6. I love reading dialogue that I don't trip over. Great post!


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