During her workshop, Victoria Purman said many things, but for today, I wanted to touch on the following:
'When the stakes are really high you want your characters to talk about it'.
What Victoria is saying, is that you don't want to describe the scenes leading up to an altercation (for example), only to have your characters go into a different room to resolve the issue off page.
What she's saying is that if a scene within your story matters, then Write It Out.
Readers want to be present when something big happens in your story. They want to watch it unfold.
If it happens off page then most likely you'll just leave them feeling unsatisfied and infuriated.
So because Victoria writes romance, I wanted to use romance as an example for this lesson.
Or to be more specific, a relationship.
Jughead and Betty.
If you've never seen the Netflix show 'Riverdale', its a teen mystery / coming of age story, based on the Archie comics I so adored as a child.... and kind of nothing like the comics at all.
Which is besides the point.
The point is, there is a couple within the 'Riverdale' story who fall in love, named Jughead and Betty.
(And yes I know Jughead is a weird name but stay with me here).
Here's the events in order:
Seriously, if your characters are having an altercation, or developing a romance, or... basically going through any scene whatsoever that will change or show a shift in their relationship, you have to write it out using dialogue.
For instance, if you want to portray a couple falling in love, like really make the reader believe that they are falling in love, then you can't just write:
'And then they hung out for hours and told each other their innermost secrets and became closer to each other than they were before.'
The above makes me feel nothing.
Sure it works in movies if you use a montage and some moving music. But it never works in novels.
You have to write out the whole scene where they tell each other their secrets.
You have to tell your readers what those secrets are!
In truth, when writing a novel, it's pretty easy to overlook this idea.
Especially if the romantic element within your story is not a main point, and if that's the case you might well find yourself trying to gloss over this kind of stuff.
But you shouldn't. It will make your novel stronger overall if you don't.
If you want your readers to care about your characters, then you must show them interacting, not just inform your readers that they have. If you want readers to care about a relationship, you have to make it feel real.
And writing out the dialogue in major scenes, the scenes where something in a relationship shifts, is the absolute best way to make a relationship feel real.
Easier said than done?
Do you find writing dialogue easy or hard?
Tell me about your project and what kind of dialogue you like most!