I hated writing dialogue. Not because I hate dialogue in books, just because I suck at writing it. I usually have to go through a few rounds of editing before my dialogue even looks remotely realistic. In first drafts, I tend to focus too much on the character’s facial expressions and body movements. It’s hard for me to think about what they are saying.
Everyone has something in writing that they don’t like to write as much as other things. Description. Dialogue. Building characters. Introducing the setting. Beginning chapters. Ending chapters. There’s always something that gets you down as a writer. And it’s not because it is boring or terrible. It’s because you struggle with it, so you don’t want to write it as much as other things.
Do you want to know how to fix that? Because now, I love writing dialogue. There’s dialogue written all over my bathroom mirror in expo marker because I get ideas while I’m brushing my teeth. To fix these nasty habits of avoiding writing what we hate… we have to practice.
Because practice makes… well, better. Not quite perfect.
This is going to be a short, but very helpful post. First, figure out what it is that you hate writing and try to avoid in your story. Is it the time changes? Is it the character interactions? Is it the fight scenes? Romantic scenes? The boring scenes?
Got it? Good.
I wrote a chapter last week about flash fiction. Flash fiction is sort of like mini fiction. You typically have one rule for yourself, like having a time or length limit, or having to use a key word somewhere. It’s short, and great for developing ideas. But it’s also great for practicing.
Let’s say you are writing a book already, so you don’t want to get into other ideas that can mess up your excitement for the book. That’s fine. Just use your characters and setting in this flash fiction.
Remember how I asked you to choose something that is difficult for you to write? It’s time to fix that. I chose dialogue, because I suck at it, and I didn’t ever really like writing it because I couldn’t get it to feel realistic, like a real conversation.
For my flash fiction, I wrote all in dialogue. Everything was in quotations, not a single word outside for description. I didn’t even write who said what. But I used my own characters from Holding My Breath to start out with because I know them so well already.
My flash fiction sort of ended looking like this:
“Fine? That’s all you’re going to say to me? Not even an apology or anything?”
“I have nothing to apologize for. You’re the idiot that got us caught.”
This is not in the book. But I know exactly what is happening in it, and who is talking. However, by just writing the dialogue, I’m getting better at figuring out what characters would really say in real situations.
So my challenge for you is to give it a try with your own weakness. Build up your skills to get stronger. Write one page in a notebook somewhere. It’s like… fan-fiction for your own novel. In a weird way. But it helps. Write one page of nothing but that thing that you struggle with the most. If you hate description, write an entire page on the setting. That’s right, get all of those details down. You’ll hate it at first, but then you learn to like it as you get better. If you hate dialogue, like I did, then write a whole page of just dialogue.
By only writing this thing that you hate, you are forced to face it and not dance around it with all of your other words. Even after doing just a few of these exercises, I already saw a difference in my writing.
Whatever chewing down on your writing hand, shake it off with a little flash fiction. It’ll take you ten minutes. A little practice goes a long way. Some of the things I wrote actually did end up in my novel. For example, I tried practicing a little more on characterization and flash backs, and wrote a few short pages for Aaron, one of my characters. I ended up splitting up those pages and putting them in the book.
Who knows what will come with the practice, right?
A shout out to all of my beta readers out there! You all are doing amazing and I’m definitely getting great feedback for the book. I hope you like the story:)
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And welcome! I know I recently got a horde of new readers, so here’s a little highlight that you may have missed: I’m hosting a beta reading for my next book, and if you participate you will get to read it for free before it’s out and get your name in the acknowledgements (among other things)! For more information about the beta reading, how to sign up, and what it is, click here.
Thank you for reading, and don’t stop writing!