As a wanna be writer one of the hardest things to set down on paper when writing fiction is the dialogue between my protagonists.
I have an idea of where I want to take the story and the relationships therein but it is never as easy as simply typing them.
Often I am tempted to give my voice and my personality traits to characters but that could be wildly at odds with the events I wish to portray. To a certain extent most protagonists will be autobiographical. It’s very difficult to avoid that unless you are supremely talented and know yourself very well. My major difficulty is ensuring dialogue is authentic and rings true in the voices of my protagonists although I don’t find it hard, being female, to write for a man talking.
Once I’ve decided my dialogue I have to decide how I want to bookend the speakers such as he said, she said, he answered, she replied and so on. I find myself anxiously watching to make sure I don’t always use the same endings and beginnings.
Again it is the struggle with my imagination that gets me every time. How would this particular person speak? Would they be authoritarian or demure? Softly spoken or gruff. Pleasant or terse? Would they talk eloquently or with an impediment? How would the events of their lives have shaped their conversations and their geographical situations and cultures their accents and ideology?
Our chief objective as a writer or author is to draw the reader in, to capture their attention from our first sentence. To garner belief in our protagonists and a desire to know more. Readers want to fall in love with our tales, to inhabit them and escape reality for a time.
“She doesn’t have a problem with chins”
“Tell me I’ll never have to be out there again”
“I came here tonight because when you realise you want to spend the rest of your life with someone you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible”
“You had me at hello”
“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you”
“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”
“I shall miss her as long as I live”
These quotations form a small part of lines of dialogue that I hug close to my chest in happiness. They inspire and move me in varied ways. They keep me reading to the very last word on the very last page, subsequently sighing with sadness that our mutual journey is finished.