Group dialogue—creating something that isn’t crap

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There are times I wish I could record the conversations I have with my friends and recount them back in writing just as they were in real life. You know the ones—where everyone around the table is laughing so hard their stomachs hurt and there are tears rolling down their faces. The ones that start out with one person bringing up an odd idea and everyone adding to it until it has snowballed into the strangest thing you’ve ever heard. The ones that make you feel lucky to have such amazing friends who don’t judge you, who have your back and make you laugh. 

I so want to be able to write these types of conversations. I want to learn how to capture the joy and abandon in words on paper (or a computer screen). I want my readers to read these scenes and feel what I feel when I am part of them. 

This is the assignment I am giving myself for the weekend—writing dialogue in a group setting that sounds genuine and gives you a little view into each of the speaker’s personalities. 

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The Art of Observation

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I have been honing my observation skills lately. I might have actually been honing a little too intently as it has become a problem at work. I find myself studying my co-workers so intently that I miss giant chunks of information in meetings. I hear things like, “The discretionary budget has come under some strain lately…the harsher alcohol sanctions don’t seem to be making a difference.” It would seem as though our staff are using our budget to support their drinking habits. This is not the case, but if I don’t stop ‘observing’ so intently, I could pass on some really bad information in my reports.

I am trying to focus most on personality quirks I can use with my characters. One of my characters wears glasses, so I am seeing people in glasses everywhere- kind of like when you buy a new car and see that make and model all over the place. I observed someone on Thursday who wears the reading glasses that connect at the bridge with magnets. (As though it is so difficult to just pull them off your face.) The reading glasses were very stiff and didn’t quite sit on his face. They seemed to be suspended in midair above his nose. They didn’t look new, but they still had the cling sticker in the corner of one lens that said what strength they are. I don’t know how the individual doesn’t go crazy seeing this in his peripheral vision all the time.

I like these little details and am excited to look for more. I just have to try not to concentrate too hard on it during meetings.