Daniel (Danny) Lance Wright, Author

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Say It ain't so

When writing dialogue in a novel, especially in a scene where a number of people of various ages and genders are involved, the challenge is to make those characters speak as age and gender would dictate; in other words, women not manly or childish, men not girly or childish, children not grown-up. It should come off conversational, not contrived or mechanical. The reader must believe, unequivocally, that these people are speaking to one another and not passing notes.

Of course, there are always exceptions to such arbitrary sounding rules as this. It depends upon how the character has been conceptualized. And, however that is, should be carried consistently throughout.

The point I wish to make is that while working on a tense four pages of dialogue among a group of people on the run for their lives, I was reminded of a time I was working in the television industry and writing a piece of ad copy for a commercial spot.

I handed it to one of the account executives and asked him for an opinion. In hindsight, I should’ve kept my mouth shut. That person, a dear friend, had a problem with the use of contractions. I countered by saying that people don’t talk in such a formal manner, or even in complete sentences usually. And, the only time a contraction should not be used is when specific emphasis is desired, such as: “The price is not expensive at all.” For an ad to sound sincere and from the heart, it should not read like narrative in a novel. It should sound as one would say it to a friend, and that included the use of contractions.

Well, as it turned out, I didn’t convince my friend and he certainly did not make any inroads with me either. It didn’t matter much. We shared lunch and took verbal jabs at one another the rest of that day fifteen years ago.

As I worked on drafting my latest novel yesterday, that memory wafted in and out of my mind all day. It’s now a cherished memory. That friend and co-worker left this world fourteen years ago and the contraction debate was only one of many spirited conversations between us.

Have a great day, Y’all.

Author of
"Six Years' Worth"/Father's Press/mainstream/print & ebook
"Paradise Flawed"/Dream Books LLC/action-adventure/print & ebook
"Where Are You, Anne Bonny?"/Rogue Phoenix Press/ historical drama/ ebook only
“Trouble”, short story/CrossTIME Science Fiction Anthology, Vol. IX/print only
“Dancing Away”/ short story/romance/Untreed Reads/ebook only
“Annie’s World: Jake’s Legacy”/ATTM Press/soft science fiction/print & ebook
“Helping Hand For Ethan/Rogue Phoenix Press/young adult/print & ebook
“Phobia”/Booktrope/suspense-thriller/print & ebook
“Defining Family”/Whiskey Creek Press/young adult/print & ebook
“The Last Radiant Heart” (re-release)/Sage Words Publishing/science fiction/print & ebook
“Hackberry Corners, Texas 1934”
“Zero To Love”

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