My turn on the Blog Chain. Man, taking last round off made me feel…so….out of the loop! Anyways, Kate started this round with the following question:
Do you enjoy writing dialogue? Do you use a lot of dialogue in your writing (for our purposes “a lot” will be defined as more than a smidge and yet not so much that the quotes key on your computer is completely worn out.)? Do you have example(s) of dialogue you especially enjoyed from something you’ve read? Do you have example(s) of dialogue from your own writing? What about these examples makes them special?
WHEW! That is a serious question. And one that I really struggled with.
I guess we’ll start with the easy answer…YES! I love dialogue. I think it provides opportunities for characterization without straight narration or extreme action. A characters word choice and manner of speaking allows the reading insight as to the personality of the speakers – all good things
Now, saying I like dialogue does not necessarily mean I am good at writing it. And, truthfully, I am not certain that I am. It is something I have been working on – along with other aspects of characterization, these days.
Okay – on to the samples of dialogue.
This is from Hunger Games. It’s the scene just before Kat leaves for the games – her last conversation with Gale. In it, we see the relationship between them, the reality facing her, and the choices she is going to have to make…all within a tightly written scene.
“Katniss, it’s just hunting. You’re the best hunter I know,” says Gale.
“It’s not just hunting. They’re armed.They think,” I say.
“So do you. And you’ve had more practice. Real practice,” he says. “You know how to kill.”
“Not people,” I say.
“How different can it be, really?” says Gale grimly.
The awful thing is that if I can forget they’re people, it will be no different at all.
The Peacekeepers are back too soon and Gale asks for more time, but they’re taking him away and I start to panic. “Don’t let them starve!” I cry out, clinging to his hand.
“I won’t! You know I won’t! Katniss, remember I -” he says, and they yank us apart and slam the door and I’ll never know what it was he wanted me to remember.
“Allyson. Allyson. Are you ready to come back and join the group?” The question hangs in the air, teasing me. Of course I’m not ready. No one ever is. But we all play their stupid game. Act like we’re good girls. Pretend we’re getting better so we can get out.
And cut again.
“Yeah, sorry.” I walk back to my chair, unaware of the topics being covered in this round of torture. Not that I actually care. I never tell the truth. Not ever. I lie about everything. Tell them anything they want to hear. There’s no way I’m letting Dr. Whatever and his minions rattle around in my head.
That’s never, ever going to happen.
“Allyson, Nina was just saying that sometimes it’s hard to know who you are without the pain. What do you think?” Minion #1’s eyes narrow. Waiting.
Does she really think I’m going to answer? I mean, seriously, how many silent hours do I have to spend before she figures that out? “Um, I guess.” My standard answer.
Minion #1 seems to buy it and turns away. “What about you Lacey?”
Lacey is the one reason this place isn’t all bad. She’s my roomie. We spend the nights going over our great plans for when we get out. How we’ll control the pain again. How we’ll hide the scars, hide the evidence. We’ll go about our perfect little lives and never let anyone know how deeply we hide our true selves.
Lacey looks at Minion #1, the light dancing in her green eyes. She placates her with a random answer. She’s used to the game. In fact, she is the resident expert. This is her fourth trip through Destination Hell. Each time, she leaves in two days.
And on this trip, she has taught me all of her secrets. The right words. The right face.
“I think,” Lacey starts. “I think I define myself by my pain. And when it gets to be too much, I cut – just so I can refocus my world again. The cycle never stops.”
“Excellent Lacey. Thank you so much for sharing that.” Minion #1 smiles her plastic smile.
And I laugh under my breath, unable to share the joke just played. I look at Lacey and smile. She stares back and tilts her head. The black strings of her hair fall into her face, She smiles. Winks. And I know, everything she said it total bullshit. Like always.