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Write believable dialogue. We read good literature for joy and also with a writer’s eye to emulate good writing. Some reading is useful as a terrible warning.
For the worst dialogue in the world, read any fiction by Ayn Rand.
No one on earth ever spoke as her characters speak. She has a philosophy to push more than a story so there’s a whole lot of preaching going on. That’s why she’s better known as a philosopher today, not a fiction writer.
Filed under: Unintentionally hilarious, Writers, writing tips, AynRand, writing dialogue
When my mother dying, her patched hair thin and falling out, someone said, “Make sure she’s not hoarding pills.”
“Why?” I said.
“So she won’t kill herself, of course.”
I shrugged. “She’s inevitably dying a slow painful death.”
“It’s up to God to choose our time.” She saw my eyes and shrugged back at me. “I’m pro-life.”
“You’re pro-suffering,” I said.
Take a look at what’s going on here. You’re thinking cancer, but the word isn’t used. Did you picture two different kinds of shrugs? You don’t know who the speakers are, but you have an idea where each is coming from with little information. There’s no telling here. I don’t say the first speaker is “perplexed” or “angry” or ”irritated.” I don’t state that the unwanted advisor is rigid or stern or oblivious. It’s not all spelled out for you. The reader has room to draw conclusions.
As a writer, you don’t want to leave the reader at sea for long as to who the speakers are, but passages like these draw people into your story very quickly.
Filed under: rules of writing, Writing exercise, writing dialogue