Monday, June 26, 2017

KEEPING IT REAL: Reality in Writing

Years ago, I watched soap operas like they were going out of style. And I loved them. Everyone had such exciting lives, often, I found that my life was dull in comparison.

It wasn't until later, when the love for soaps dropped out of the picture, that I realized how 'unreal' they actually were, and that, thank heavens, my life wasn't filled with all of that pain - and on a daily basis!

Image result for dialogue
https://www.tes.com/lessons/aUnoFPhKIgHYMg/dialogue
Reality in writing is important, yes, even if you're writing science fiction or fantasy. Maybe espeically then. You reader needs to connect, not only to your characters, but the place they have planted themselves. And your reader can't do that if they are thinking, "well, she just wouldn't say that," or "he wouldn't do that." "That place is just too far-out in space to be believed." "What about science?"

The wrong dialogue can also cause book problems. Even though characters are fiction, they're a lot like real people, and should have some of the same expressions. Make sure that what your characters say not only reflects the time period in which they are living, but the personality you have given them. Make sure that their fears are in check; that your reader doesn't become mystified because your main character is suddenly sounding like your secondary character.

A good excercise; one that I should implement more often, is to write out my dialogue without the tags (i.e., he said she said) and see if another reader can tell who's speaking without the tags. In writing, you need some tags, but they don't need to be after every piece of dialogue. Too many tags will actually slow down the scene. 

No writer is perfect, and I'm still dealing with reality in my own writing, so don't give up if this is a struggle for you. Listen to those critiques, listen at parks, malls, grocery stores. Take notes on how people speak.

It will be the most helpful homework you've ever experienced.
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