Clarion Write-a-Thon 2012: Day 17

Managed to complete another scene!

Scenes: 6/21
Words: 5,929

Apropos to my review of Nick Mamatas’ Starve Better, here’s a trick from his chapter on writing dialogue—one of the best I’ve read around, and to-the-point as well: only in bad stories do characters say what they mean. Others have said that intriguing dialogue occurs when it’s used to generate conflict; and one way to do that is to rely on the ways that characters try to trick each other, or to advance the unknown in the larger story. This summary doesn’t do Mamatas’ original essay justice, so I strongly recommend reading his book. It’s only $4 in the Kindle store at the moment.

This scene was mainly dialogue, and thus needed its fill of secrets and lies between the two characters. Easy enough, since one obviously has an agenda that goes beyond the immediate scene and plays into the larger story, but what it exactly is is unknown at this point (although I know what it is, which is a good deal better than blundering in the dark alongside the envisioned reader).

I’ll need to try my hand at dialogue between more than two players, and that’s a critique Mamatas has offered on my own work from a couple years ago. If things go according to plan, that’s the next scene. Juggling all this will be interesting.

Today’s phrases that need killing off in my subsequent revisions: “of course” and “naturally”.