Recently I was speaking to some writers, and the topic of “art in writing” came up. We were talking about art in conflict, and I think some people didn’t quite “get it”.
Writing sometimes can get “stale”. I know, I’ve caught myself doing it. It’s really easy to get caught up in your dialog, especially during a conflict. The dialog will start shooting out of your fingers. This character says this, that character yells that. You have a clear vision of the scene, but you just type out the dialog part. Problem is, since you have the “clear vision” you “see” what is happening when you read it back to yourself, and you might not realize that the “art” is missing.
One of my beta partners called me on this about 8 months ago. He told me that it sounded like my characters were sitting there on each side of a table reading lines of a script to each other. There was nothing else happening but dialog.
I was a little surprised by the comment. After all, they were raising their hands, slamming their fists, throwing things… weren’t they? Well, honestly… only in my head. That’s the way I envisioned it, but I forgot to add that to the “art” of the conflict. When I read it back… he was right.
My challenge was then, to go back and CREATE the art. In doing so however, I needed to make sure I didn’t SLOW DOWN the conflict. I needed to keep it flowing. I needed to keep the pacing. I needed to keep the intensity of the scene.
That is why it is an “art”. It takes trial and error, and practice. If your “art” pulls your reader out of the story, and reminds them that they are reading, or even worse… makes them start skimming to get to the good stuff… you have spoiled your story for the sake of art.
The author who can create art, and keep the reader engaged, is a true storyteller.
- Breathe Life Into Your Writing! Part IVb: Dialogue (sundancepress.wordpress.com)
- Just Beat It! (kenradaniels.com)
- Dialogue (philomediatrailer.wordpress.com)
- Conflict in Dialogue (writerswritedaily.wordpress.com)