The Page a Day Writers Group

A Spy in the House of Blab

Posted on: January 17, 2010

IMAGE CREDIT: SU Xinping (1960-) Dialogue, 1989, lithograph. Collection Art Gallery of New South Wales

I LOVE to write dialogue.  Nothing else excites me more than the sexually charged banter between my heroes and heroines.  I find it so magically delicious I can rarely wait to do it and get all that done long before I write the narrative.  Narrative looks like a lot of notes when I first start writing a new novel.

Most other writers tell me they hate the dialogue, it’s the description they love.  I honestly wish that show business was an easier medium to break in as a writer, because I’d love it if my description could be: She crosses to the bar, pours a drink and shoots it back in one swallow. I’d also love, love, love to make the kind of money TV writers make, even though they are woefully underpaid considering the salaries of the stars.

Alas, I ran from L.A. with my dignity barely intact the last time, I don’t think I’m ready for another dose.

I guess the reason why I do love writing dialogue is because of the theatre background.  I’ve read an enormous amount of plays, a few screenplays and seen an indecent amount of movies and television.  I was also the perfect archetype of the future artist throughout school.  Few would dare be seen with me so I was on my own a lot.  But I was listening.  I still do.  I am a single, childless gal, so I go a lot of places alone.  I listen in on all kinds of conversations.  Some are pretty yawn-worthy, some are good enough to get involved in, and others still are so freaky, you start looking around for Rod Serling or Allen Funt.

These are the moments which make you think ‘Oh, yeah, I’m using that!’  And remember, even the mundane conversations you hear could be spiced up if you give the characters the right subtext.

So go ahead, eavesdrop.  They’ll never know!

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5 Responses to "A Spy in the House of Blab"

I’m with you, Deborah! The reason I love to write dialogue is because I am a talker. 🙂 I also love to eavesdrop when I’m out in public, something my husband considers rude.

When a scene comes into my head, the first thing I hear is what the characters are saying to each other. Then I have to fill in the other details with narrative.

On my way out to work for a while and hoping I hear something juicy …

Oooo! I hope you hear something juicy too! That way, you’ll write and we’ll get to read it!

I love your Alan Funt reference and the reaffirmation that eavesdropping is allowed, even expected, in our line of work. I get some of my best stuff from the restaurant table next to mine or the conversation going on behind me at the checkout line.

I totally agree, Claire. I was just listening in on a conversation between a couple the other day in Walgreens, and I kept thinking: “I wouldn’t stay married to this jerk!” But it made me speculate about all the reasons this woman would stay with this guy.

“Oh yeah, I’m using that!” Hee hee, a common refrain in my mind as I lasso snatches of chit chat. Eavesdropping is my bag, baby! Cheers 🙂

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Who are we?

The Page a Day Writers Group is a diverse collection of wonderful writers based in San Diego, CA. We've been meeting monthly since 2004. Our primary function is in-depth writing critique, marketing and brainstorming, but there's usually some wine, chocolate and ribaldry involved too. We write fantasy, humor, literary fiction, nonfiction, romance, thrillers and YA. Join us on our journeys to publication and the wonderland beyond!

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