About Me

My photo

Louise's current project is to make all her sweet romances available on the internet.
 
 
Look out for her new Regency romance, Regency Fortune, coming soon!
 

 

Sunday, 14 August 2011

A Dialogue Writing Technique

I'm currently re-typing A Picture of Happiness, which is one of the first books I wrote.
This is what appears in the printed version - so it has been through a copy editor, two in fact, because it went into large print as well.

Araminta met his eyes anxiously.
'You do like your new place, then?'
There was no mistaking the sincerity in his tone.
'I love it! As soon as I walked in, it felt like home.'

Can you see anything wrong it that? I can now. It's like that spoof soap, Acorn Antiques, where the character walked across the room and stood looking at the phone. The character looked expectant and reached out a hand. Then it rang. And everybody laughed. Dwight Swain is very strict about this in his excellent book on writing. First the punch, then the recoil.  The rule should be, action then reaction. How can you hear sincerity in someone's tone until they have spoken? I suppose the advantage is, that it tells people how to read the line before they begin, but I think the loss of veracity is too big a price to pay for clarity, especially when a slight change solves the whole problem.

Araminta met his eyes anxiously.
'You do like your new place, then?'
'I love it.' There was no mistaking the sincerity in his tone. 'As soon as I walked in, it felt like home.'

So, as I'm retyping, I'm making changes like the one above.  I don't think it reads as smoothly, but in theory, the principle is now so much a part of my writing technique that new drafts come out both sounding natural and with the action before the reaction.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don’t usually get to read things that make me laugh but your article really made me burst into laughter. You are such a funny author with entertaining subjects. Go on with the great work you do.LV Sunglasses,Oakeley Sunglasses,Canada Goose Coats