Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A lesson in guest-posting

Funny things happen when you're asked to write about writing. You learn stuff about your own work.

Lynn Carlson at Writing Wyoming asked that I write a guest post about realistic dialogue. Sure, why not? Piece of cake. I dredged up an old quote from one of my writing profs at Colorado State U. Problem was, I couldn't find the original. I looked and looked.

I decided to use a swatch of dialogue from one of the stories in my as-yet-unpublished collection, "The Department of Noticing Things." Swatches of dialogue are not like swatches of fabric or paint chips. It's tough to lift a conversation that not only can stand on its own but represent the rest of the story. It's doubly hard not to revise it. In fact, writing about dialogue makes it almost mandatory to revise, especially when you quoting writers such as Alice Munro, Ernest Hemingway and Elmore Leonard.

So I spent about 110 percent more time on the piece that I thought. But I earned some revision along the way. Read some cool quotes about dialogue. Read three new stories. Reread Hemingway's "A Clean Well-Lighted Place" for the hundredth time.

Thanks to Lynn for the request. I'll do it again. I urge my readers to read Writing Wyoming. You don't have to be from WY, but it helps.

You can read the guest post at http://www.writingwyoming.com/2016/05/writing-realistic-dialogue.html. I appreciate comments.

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