The dialogue exercise we toyed with earlier this week proved to be fruitful for myself. Dialogue is a part of writing I consistently struggle with. When approaching this exercise I decided to do a free-write of the bare bones conversation I was trying to dictate (which was indirectly related to my project) and then add supplementary actions of the characters to better bring the scene to life. Where as before, I’d always thought of dialogue as a means of simply dictating a conversation, of nothing else but the words being said.
“What happened to your hair?”
“What, there’s something wrong with it?”
“Did you cut it?”
“Yes you did. Come here. Right here, look, there’s a chunk missing. You cut it didn’t you?”
“Yes you did. I can see it right there. Don’t lie to me.”
Revised Version (which was shared with my group):
From across the other side of the dinner table his mother, staring, said, “What happened to your hair?”. Jeffery’s Eyes shifted left, right, then staring at the ceiling fan, in the most innocent voice he could muster asked, “What, there’s something wrong with it?”.
Mom, setting down her fork, “Did you cut it?”.
“Yes you did. I’m looking right at it and there’s a chunk missing. Come over here.”
Jeffery stands, scans the room for exits, tries to focus on the broadcast news filling the adjacent livingroom, but his mother takes his chin in her left hand and the back of his head with her right, giving his axis a tilt, and with a tuft of his blonde hair in between her fingers scolds, “Right here. You didn’t cut this?”.
“Don’t lie to me. I’m looking right at it.”