STATUS: A little tired today. One big problem I had to handle that really zapped a lot of energy. Not feeling my perky self. Nothing that a nice glass of wine won’t handle though.
What song is playing on the ipod right now? NIGHTINGALE by Norah Jones
It’s Monday and you know what happens on Mondays. Angie, reader extraordinaire, visits the office and reads the partial inbox all day. Usually I read with her but didn’t have any time today. I did get to spend about an hour in the afternoon looking at some partials that she had passed on to me.
We always try to have some words of wisdom for writers after a day of reading the old inbox. Actually, I should say that Angie has some words of wisdom to share. She basically took me by the arm and said, “here’s your blog topic for today” and since she had that look in her eye, I must comply.
Today’s topic: avoid incorporating your back story via your character’s dialogue.
After reading several examples aloud to me, I have say I’m in agreement. It makes for uninspiring and tepid dialogue exchanges—and the kiss of death to the partial. Basically, when writers fall into this trap, they end up stating in the dialogue something the receiving character would already know. It ends up making no sense as to why the other character would say it in the first place. The only reason would be to create the back story for the reader.
Clumsy at best.
Made up example:
Character 1: I must find the elusive stone of magic (of death, of life, insert appropriate fantasy element here).
Character 2: Yes, my Queen, it is imperative we find it but you also need to remember to collect the six other crystals/stones/talismans for without it, you will not have the power of the XYZ and will be unable to rule your domain.
Hum… If character 1 is the Queen, wouldn’t she already know that she needs the other elements in order to have complete control and world domination? Why in the world would she need her attendant to tell her so? It’s obvious that this dialogue is for the reader’s sake (to incorporate the back story) and is in no way exploring the character, plot etc.
Aren’t you glad I don’t write dialogue for a living? I’m of course attempting (successfully or not—you tell me) to exaggerate the example so the point is clear.
Back story. Dialogue. Not a match made in heaven.