Thursday, February 28, 2013

Northern Network March meeting and Feb. recap

A Point With a View: Playing With POV

You’ve got the perfect idea for a story. Strong characters, great plot, amazing setting… now—who’s going to tell it? This month, let’s consider Point of View and how it can work for—or against—your story.

What: Northern Network Meeting
Date: Wednesday, March 6
Time: 7pm
Location: Barnes & Noble (4099 Meridian Street, Bellingham)
Questions? Call Rebecca Van Slyke at (360) 354-5797, or email


He Said, She Said: Let’s Talk About Dialogue
SCBWI Northern Network Talk by Rebecca Van Slyke
                  The Northern Network discussed dialogue this month. Dialogue is simply a conversation between two or more characters. But writing effective dialogue can be incredibly challenging. We learned several tips. Dialogue should:
·      have a purpose. If your dialogue, like any other story element, doesn’t do anything to move the story forward, cut it.
·       be brief. Use the “rule of the index finger.”
·      be consistent. Each character should have their own way of speaking that is easily identifiable.
·      sound real. It emulates but does not replicate real speech
·      reveal your character. As your story progresses, reveal the layers of your character through actions, thoughts and dialogue.
Dialogue should not:
·      provide too much information. Don’t use dialogue as an “info dump.”
·      reveal backstory in an awkward way. Beware of “As-You-Know-Bobisms.” As in, “As you know, Bob, we’ve been friends since third grade.”
·      rely on adverbs. (“I know,” she said, happily.)  Show us, don’t tell us.
·      overdo tag lines (replied, called, remarked, added). You want the taglines to be invisible, so “said” should suffice in most cases.
·      be redundant. (“I’m sorry,” he apologized.)
So how do you do it?
·      Listen to people.
·      Include voice inflection, gesture and setting to break up or add beats to dialogue.
·      Tell it slant. Make sure the dialogue reflects the inner workings at some level.
·      Don’t forget to let your characters shut up. Sometimes silence speaks louder than words..
·      Read widely. When you feel lost, go to books that work..
·      Study films and plays. They are nearly all pure dialogue.
·      Read your dialogue out loud, or have someone else read it out loud to you.
·      Show growth in your character.
Following these guidelines will result in dialogue that is vital, organic and true, giving your characters roundness and depth; giving them their voice.

No comments: