Writing has never come easy for me. It’s a compulsion, an obsession really, which is why I do it. But it’s also a long pain filled process. Not just because I can’t seem to write anything that isn’t laced with deep emotion, or as my friend and fellow writer Vonnie Davis calls it, “emotions so sensually thick they wrap around you like a plump down comforter”.
Dialogue is the easy part. Perhaps because I honest and truly hear my characters voices in my head. They talk, I take dictation. My first drafts are always just that; dialogue. Conversations between the characters: comment, response, comment. Page after page after page of dialogue that may or may not have any sort of tag as to who is speaking. If there are more than just two characters conversing, I will leave a name behind the line of dialogue, but that’s all it will be: “dialogue” name
The next time I go through my work in progress I sprinkle in emotion. Sometimes this is easy as I’ve always had the ability to put myself into my characters shoes and FEEL what they feel. But sometimes that ability makes every word, every glimpse inside the character a painful, highly emotional, and draining experience. Then there are the times I’m not exactly certain what my character is feeling. If that sounds odd to you, go back and look at the bit about dialogue. My characters speak, I take dictation. That can leave me guessing right along with the hero whether or not his last comment angered the heroine.
So what’s the worst part of writing, the most difficult part for me? Choreography. Yup, you read that correctly, choreography: who does what when, how they move, and what expression they wear as they deliver their emotion packed line of dialogue. I loathe that part. Loathe. It. I don’t kid myself and think I am the only one, but I will guess those like me are in the minority. I’ve seen a multitude of classes on dialogue, but I’ve yet to see one on ‘getting your character across the room’. Laugh if you want to. Heck, I’ll laugh with you. Spending days staring at a nearly complete manuscript, searching for the right way to describe an action while ‘show, don’t tell’ runs endlessly through your mind... It’s quite pathetic.
In the end – after more than a few curse words, false starts, and glasses of wine – I’m usually happy with what I’ve got. Sure, you will nearly always find more dialogue and emotion in my books than actual character movement, but I don’t write action thrillers so that’s okay. Besides, by that final run through of my WIP, the stars of my next book are chattering away in my head, insisting that I get to telling their story. Let me assure you, you don’t want to put off a demanding alpha male for too long, or he’ll start interfering with your sleep. And not in a way that is at all physically pleasing.
Thanks for reading!