Dear Dialogue,

Dialogue, I have asked for you, and I have received in a powerful way.
I’m so sorry that I doubted you, Dialogue, that I never enjoyed writing you.
It’s just that in my writing I’ve never needed you, except maybe once in my short “Mannequin Party” from grade eight, which I must, Dialogue, I must look for and post on this blog. My focus in university was English Literature, not Creative Writing, so no one had ever introduced me to you – in a powerful or connective way. We’ve been at the same party for years, Dialogue, and yet we’ve never spoken.
Why didn’t I like you? Well for one, I didn’t think that a lot of people did you justice. When I was young I volunteered at the hospital every week, walking around to all the patients with a book cart and sometimes sneaking a peak myself. Most were tragic love stories with racy covers, generic and uninspired. The dialogue in them too easily became cheesy, cliche, or annoying. But it wasn’t you, Dialogue! It wasn’t the real you.

When my editor asked me to focus on scenes, I had no idea how much I would be able to run with it. Our interactions with others are so second nature to us that we take them for granted, and it’s not until there’s a scene written that we consider the power in our words, in our glances, or what’s present in the weight in our pauses.

I should start writing short stories again.

I’ve been scouring the writing websites, being the nerd I am for you Dialogue, for the best tips, most useful and practical advice for writing you. And I am working on those things.

I’m also reading books like crazy, and this helps establish your regular patterns and routines, Dialogue. You are easily identifiable, easily found, and you always meet all of my expectations. Well done!

By day and by night I toil over you, Dialogue, and I have written dozens of scenes in the last six weeks, completing the revisions of the manuscript.

Here is a short excerpt from the manuscript I am working on. To contextualize the scene, remember that Tya is our daughter who we lost at forty weeks, and that Leila is her two year old sister. The scene is set about a month after Tya’s death, and it’s a work in progress!

“Where is Tya?” Ruth went straight to my intuitive channel. “Where is Tya right now?” She continued, “Can you sense her?”

I thought for a minute, wondering if she really just asked me what I thought she asked me. I gripped the wheel and tried to keep my eyes on the road. “I don’t know, Ruth.” I was honest.

“I have a friend who communicates with spirits,” She said. “Would you to like to get in touch with Tya?” I thought for a moment before I answered.

I was in touch with Tya. I was very in touch with her. Leila had come to me that morning. She ran into the kitchen, covered her mouth like she’d done something she was guilty of, and pointed out to the front hall. “I see Tya.” She said. Two year olds are so intuitive.

I crouched down low to be close to her; tears welled up in my eyes but I was steady.  When I gathered the breath I needed to talk I whispered, “Can you take me to her?”She took my hand and led me out to the front hall.

“There,” she whispered, pointing to Tya’s bassinette. Leila had jumped in and out of it when I was pregnant, dragging dolls, blankets, and books.

“She’s sleeping right now,” she put her finger over her mouth, “Ssshhhh, Mom.” And I believed her – babies do sleep a lot.

Do you have any tips for writing Dialogue? I would love to hear from other writers on this one, especially since I’m a bit of a Junior Writer on the scene. Thanks, everyone.

And thank you, Dialogue. And then they kissed.

4 Comments

  1. For the most part, your dialogue sounds quite natural to me. Not sure the __”Would you like to get in touch with Tya?” fits, though. I might consider reversing the two dialogue sentences there because Ruth asking the question before she explains that she has a friend who communicates with spirits might peak the readers interest. I know it would me. The way it is now, there is no surprise. –That’s just my thought.

    Sometimes, dialogue needs very subtle changes. People don’t often come right out and say what it is they want to communicate. I like writing dialogue, I like looking for those subtle little things that makes it unique and a pleasure to read. Hope this is helpful in some small way.

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