This is my monthly post as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a great group of supportive writers, helping one another through our writing ups-and-downs.
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As I mentioned in my recent Weekend Coffee Share – I decided to go ahead and attempt Camp NaNo this month. It’s likely I’ll be chronicling my attempts on twitter (#CabinInTheWords, @Nerissarain). So, be sure to join me if you wanna see just how I manage to juggle editing a chapter that’s been giving me trouble for a few months alongside recovering from two surgeries….
Part of the challenge of this chapter is that it’s a lot of dialog. That, itself, isn’t the issue, it’s that I have characters sharing information with one another, but only determining if it is safe to share that information after they’ve shared it. That doesn’t work.
For those who RP, it’s kind of like when you have a bunch of player-characters walk into a tavern and instantly accept the information the NPC bartender gives them as fact. It just doesn’t quite work, not for people used to approaching every situation with caution, so I need to re-work it some.
I think what I’m going to end up doing is pulling the conversation apart and approaching it like dialog in a play. What is being said (and what is being conveyed that isn’t being said through expression or body language) is pretty important for the story, so I want to make sure those points get across. So what I think I’m going to do is dig out my big tri-fold cardboard presentation folder (you know, the kind that they use for school science presentations) and sticky notes. Each line of dialog will get it’s own note (color coded by character), key points or messages will get a sticky of a different color, and it will all get set out on the board, moved around, added to, and subtracted from, until I get the right flow.
Basically I’m altering the way I tend to organize academic papers to work for my fictional writing — I hope it’ll work!
Has anyone else had success in restructuring dialog? What tricks have worked for you?