Dialogue: Conversational Exposure…

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I was writing a scene today where a man and woman are meeting for the first time. (I am of the persuasion that writing good dialogue is one of the most challenging aspects of novel writing. I spend a vast amount of time working over dialogue and I usually feel I am doing a good portion of it wrong after the airbrushing.) In this scene the man is head over heels for the woman and can hardly believe he is walking and talking with her. The woman finds herself surprised that she really enjoys his company and awakens in a way she hadn’t expected. I had this thought that I would like to model their conversation after some of the simple daily conversations shared by my mother and father. As I sat with the idea and tried to channel their voices I realized I couldn’t. My parents divorced when I was three and neither of them ever remarried. I literally have no experience observing a man and woman lovingly dialogue. That was a strange realization. This got me thinking about how much of our written story dialogue is extrapolated from our own firsthand conversational experiences. 

It can be our human tendency to focus on what we do not have, be it in terms of experience or knowledge, but sometimes lack of experience can translate in beautiful ways if you find a style for it. As an example, Cormac McCarthy writes what is in my opinion some of the most beautiful dialogue in modern writing. It reminds me of Hemingway and the Russians. It is terse and stripped and to the point. In his dialogue I see a bit of austerity and it makes me wonder about the way he grew up. Maybe he grew up in a world where conversation was not often loving. Maybe in the world he was raised in (and became a man in) the conversation was pragmatic. Maybe it was considered excess if it did not serve a specific purpose. Maybe his parents never spoke just to speak. Or maybe, like me, he never witnessed two parents lovingly speaking with one another. 

Your experiences and exposures will find their way into your writing voice. No matter what they will. They make you who you are so they will make your written voice what it is. Embrace it. Be who you are—happiness, pain, knowledge, austerity and all—and sometimes, even what you were never taught.  


Roman Newell

Graphic Compositions:
by: Darlene Carroll

Graphic work can not be accomplished without the incredible resources made available to this Author and his team. THANK YOU to the following artists for the gift of their artistry and generosity in sharing their beautiful artwork, photography, and fonts.

Background Imagery:
o. 愚木混株 Cdd20 – Pixabay
o. Oberholster Venita – Pixabay

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