Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Do we talk? Or do we paint a picture?

So—this week's assignment: Do you prefer writing description or dialogue? What do you have the most difficulty with? Why do you suppose that is? What do you do to strengthen it or do you avoid it at all costs? Well, for me, that is an easy first question to answer—description. The rest are not so plain…
Let me explain, I am the quintessential shy, introverted writer. *whispers* My sister says so. Ahem…anyway, barring being an author, I’m a quiet person in my real life and never have much to say. The husband always complained. “What’s wrong?” Nothing. “How come you’re so quiet?” No reason. “Are you mad?” NO! Just because I wasn’t being the chatterbox that he was and filling in all the quiet space, didn’t mean I wasn’t happy just sitting there watching life. (Possibly my shy exterior and quiet demeanor came from a grandmother that always demanded that children be seen and not heard) 

So, when I work on manuscripts, I tend to put a lot of description in them. What my characters are feeling, saying, doing—how they are reacting and the consequences of those reactions. I add the environment around them, the emotions of those with whom they are interacting with. I do have dialogue, after all, a book would be pretty boring if it were nothing BUT descriptions. However, my dialogue is straight and to the point, and I only have it rambling if it, in fact, fits the character. “Chatty Kathy…er Chatty Chad?” or, you get the picture. 

Of course, without dialogue, you can’t get as big a picture of what the character is all about, their quirks, personality, insecurities, etc. So, though I will admit that dialogue is extremely important in any story, I do struggle with it. I am not a witty person, have never been able to keep up with the witticism of others. Can’t participate in fast banter. I was never good at that. Again, I’m a quiet person, and possibly, my characters reflect that. Does that hurt my manuscripts? Possibly. However, I do work at keeping a natural and complimentary balance between dialogue and description, and hope that it shows in my stories and that people enjoy the telling of them.