While some people find it a breeze, I have always found writing dialogue difficult. If you are in this same boat, there are things you can do to build this skill.
Try rewriting a piece of your writing, perhaps just a paragraph or so, using different tense: past, present, future.
This process of writing a novel is a totally fascinating experience: watching the ebb and flow of my creativity and motivation, working out what time of day I am most productive, learning how to be flexible with my routine, realising the importance of keeping some way of recording flashes of inspiration with me at all times, spending more time with my characters than my friends (or at least it feels that way!) and having it dawn on me that a novel contains a hell of a lot of words…and I have to write them all!
Try creating mood through descriptions that have a dual purpose. Does the description create a setting, a mood, an atmosphere? Write your description and consider how it will prompt action, and what sort of action the description suggests. Then write the description and the action will naturally follow.
Today I am looking at Annabella’s goals and desires. To have the protagonist’s goals impeded by something or someone builds conflict in a story, and this is my intention today: conflict.
Today, I am thinking about relationships, specifically how each of my characters relate to the protagonist, Annabella. I realised that I had too many good guys and not enough really horrible ones – so I have tried to balance this out a little by creating the following list.
Novel writing is not a task to be scoffed at or taken lightly. It is a massive undertaking! Having a robust concept can help you keep a strong focus while taking plot deviations, encountering numerous characters and creating multiple twists and turns.
I collect first lines…from novels and short stories – from anything really. I don’t only select first lines from novels I like and read in their entirety, but aim for a broad range of styles, genre, etc. I like the idea of taking these lines out of the context within which they were written and seeing what I can create around them, seeing what writing they inspire within me, once I have forgotten their original context.
Author Francine Prose, in her book Reading like a Writer, says she learnt to write by reading. “I read for pleasure, first, but also more analytically, conscious of style, of diction, of how sentences were formed and information was conveyed, how the writer was structuring a plot creating characters, employing detail and dialogue.”
Another Louise Doughty inspired piece of writing about being lost, physically and metaphorically. It is based on an incident in my life, but overly exaggerated. Actually, reading it back I really dislike the writing I have done (perhaps because most of my writing is in 1st person and this is in 3rd person – but this was intentional, to replicate the distance the character feels from those around her and from herself). However, the purpose of this blog is not to publish only highly edited and re-worked posts, but to give you a sense of ‘writing in process’ over the course of writing my novel…and it is my hope that seeing my less than brilliant writing will also inspire you to have a go at writing yourself.