Apprentice Wordsmith A Writer's Blog

How Do I...? Dialogue

We’ve been talking about macro-level stuff on this blog so far, but I’ve yet to dive into some of the craft of writing – the wordsmithing part that all writers should know. So I’m starting this series of posts on craft. I hope this will become a regular thing.

Today’s topic is dialogue. I assume most of you have learned how to punctuate in and around quotation marks. Perhaps you’ve even learned how to incorporate quotes into an academic paper. (If not, then there are plenty of resources online.) Dialogue, however, is more than just the quotation marks, which makes it a beast unique to creative writing. This post is going to focus more on construction and word choice rather than grammar.

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Why I Don't Research... Much

Let me start by saying yes, writers should do some research before writing the final draft of their story. Note that I said “final”, not “first.” And what qualifies as “some” varies greatly depending on genre and reader expectations. So when writers ask “How much research do I need to do to write this story?”, I answer “None. Well, none initially.”

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Your World is an Iceberg

A question that every beginning writer asks is, “How much world building information do I need in my story? How much do I need to explain to the reader?” This comes up frequently for writers working in fantasy and science fiction, since world building is an integral part of the process. But every genre of fiction incorporates information about its setting in order to give the reader a sense of place and time period. What might be world building for some is research for others. So even though I’m going to be talking about world building in this post, the advice here can apply to the more realistic and historical genres. Because the question being asked here is not about world building, really. It’s about exposition.

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Use Randomness to Get Unstuck

My last post was pretty heavy, so this time, I want to share a quick, practical tip that you can use today to get a stuck plot moving again.

So your characters are in a sticky situation, and you have no idea what happens next. Or your characters are at point A, and want to get to point B, but you don’t know what happens along the way. Instead of spending hours or days worrying over which one out of hundreds of possibilities would make the most sense or give your story the most awesome points, you can leave it to chance.

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My Writing Style

In January, I posted a short story entitled “The Magic Cat” for feedback on LegendFire. The critique I received inspired me to talk about my writing style here on the blog. It’s more of an advanced topic than what this blog normally covers, but knowing what you want to do and where you want to go with your writing is extremely helpful when dealing with and sorting through criticism. Staying true to those goals will not only bring you satisfaction as an writer, but also a genuine audience for your work.

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