dialogue Archive

The Art of Dialogue for the Reticent

I write down bits of conversation I overhear in the train, in the park, at the checkout line, and borrow the more memorable ones for my own fiction writing. I am interested in the lines that sound strange or nonsensical, because they show a sense of character and intimacy

Review: SPILL SIMMER FALTER WITHER by Sara Baume

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How to express the unsayable in language? If there is one shared pursuit among writers, it is perhaps this: to capture an elusive essence, to paint emotion with words. In her debut novel Spill Simmer Falter Wither, Irish author Sara Baume meets this enduring challenge to astonishing effect, adeptly

Say Anything: A Case for Dialogue

Author: | Categories: Reading 4 Comments
Recently I was reading the prose section of an online literary magazine’s fall issue when I could not overcome a nagging sense that something was lacking. The stories themselves were well-written; the style was cohesive with the magazine’s tone; the narratives were engaging. Yet it somehow felt incomplete. As

That’s What She Said?

Author: | Categories: Writing 2 Comments
It’s not polite to eavesdrop. But how many gold nuggets of dialogue have you overheard in your life? I always feel at a loss when I don’t have a notebook and pen in my purse to jot down ideas and strangers’ intriguing utterances. Recently, in a restaurant in Seattle, 

Writers Behaving Badly

Author: | Categories: Writing, Writing Advice 3 Comments
I’m at that stage in editing my second novel where I’m confronted with my own bad habits. It’s much like cleaning out your closet only to discover you still own not one but three pairs of those chunky clogs that were popular in 1996. How have they hidden this

Roundup: Writing Dialogue

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In our Roundups segment, we’re looking back at all the great posts since the blog started in 2009. We explore posts from our archives as well as other top literary magazines, centered on a certain theme to help you jump-start your week. This week we have posts on writing

Episodia 1.3: The Heart Is a Lonely Zombie

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I never thought I’d say this, but I love me some zombies. Allow me to count the ways: their appetite for live flesh, their disintegrating jowls, their nobody’s-home-stares. Luckily for me, we just might be living in the age of the zombie renaissance. The undead have been pop culture

The Way We Talk

Author: | Categories: Writing, Writing Advice 4 Comments
When I write, I often struggle with writing what falls within the quotation marks because I’ve been told conflicting things over the years about how to write dialogue. For most of my writing career, I tried to write dialogue the way my writing instructors taught me. An often-taught rule