Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Walking the Talk

“The trick is to realize the reader always learns more about the character offering the description [via dialog] than about the character (or object) being described.” -- Bret Anthony Johnson in “Character Study: 5 Ways to Flesh Out Your Story’s Protagonists, Warts and All.” [The Writer’s Guide to Fiction published by The Writer Magazine, 2007]
I wonder how many writers realize this. When I began writing fiction, dialog was a way to provide the reader with information about the story line and other characters. I didn’t consider the fact that what was said was a reflection on the speaker. Now when I write dialog, I think about what the reader learns about the speaker, through the details he chooses to share and his manner of speaking. For some characters, the way they talk is as revealing as describing how they walk and what they wear -- at least in my way of thinking.

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