Crafting a dialogue & nothing else

Writing for me has always been a release for daydreaming. Daydreams take on concrete forms of being when I write them down as stories. I have tons of stories that swim round my head, and have finally accepted that they’re just going to have to come out. I really don’t care in what format, just that these ideas and visions have an outlet. I can’t stand more than one voice [aside from my own] dropping thoughts inside my brain for longer than a week or two. So out it comes.

On that note, I have had this story idea for quite a few years, and have been working and playing around with it for the past couple of years… “working” in so far as I am making progress in stitching scenes together to flow as a narrative, as my earliest workings for this story were always only little poetic blurbs here and there. The vision of the entire story is hard to cut into words that flow in a linear fashion.

So along with my experimentation with what will probably turn into my very first novel, I have been reading anything I can get my virtual hands on related to crafting fiction.


One of these resources [Chuck Wendig’s list of ways to plan and prep your story] suggests the writer “let the characters talk, and nothing else”. This is the exercise (profanity ahead, be forewarned):

Dialogue Pass
Let the characters talk, and nothing else. Put those squirrely fuckers in a room, lock the door, and let the story unfold. It won’t stay that way, of course. You’ll need to add… well, all the meat to the bones. But it’s a good way to put the characters forward and find their voice and discover their stories. Remember: dialogue reads fast and so it tends to write fast, too. Dialogue is like Astroglide: it lubricates the tale.” ~Chuck Wendig

This exercise provokes thoughts like “what would the conversation be like” “would they argue, would they debate, would they scheme or plan together” etc. So I followed this format exercise for my 2 main characters, both of which had previously failed to pull my heartstrings in earlier writings. This dialogue exercise was perfect. It made me look at facets of these characters that I didn’t even know were there, and really tune into what they both want [their goals] and what they fear will happen if they don’t get it in this story… As well as the underlying desperation of it all.

The important aspect of this exercise is getting to know your characters [and getting them connected to each other] through their dialogue alone. There is no descriptor narration, no backstories, no outside plot narrations, just the characters’ dialogue to serve as the window view into their world. Through their words/dialogue, I can now hear their voices. I can hear dialect and inflection and tone, and I can hear the emotion in their voices now that I couldn’t hear before.

I found this so eye-opening that I really don’t know why I didn’t do this earlier. Just this little snippet of conversation has helped cement the main plot/conflict and story arc in my head that I feel a little more confident in its telling now.

I highly recommend doing this with your characters. It could even be applied to your main protagonist and antagonist having it out in conversation. Let them get to know each other. Afterward, they should be able to form clearer distinctions between their actions, goals, and how they view one another and their conflict.

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Pandora’s Birth

I remember waking in the stale air of a cave– a womb inside a desolate earth, but not my earth.
This place was foreign and savage, filled with hate and pain and vast seas of red blooded rage.
There were molten moons rising all around, skeletal greys, pale greens and sickly ambers.
They rose over the horizon of this ethereal alien world to taunt my darkened senses.
I wasn’t relenting, and I refused to grow into those long grooves and veins that encapsulated the faces of Saturn’s lovers. Those straining epitaphs of exploding red suns beating as a broken heart deep down at the bottom of his bottomless ocean.
My skin rebelled against the atmosphere of this crater, crawling with nebulous tides of encroaching ice floes. Thirsty poisonous smog growing thicker with my breathing.
I was stranded. My limbs sank into a giving ghost land, striving to understand this meaningless motion.
Saturn floating under my belly, I tried to take my eyes from the burning red orbs calling forth great tidal waves of an unnameable ocean.
Monstrous moons warped time, warping size, warped a boundary that was totally contrived.
I gave in and observed the monstrous growth of the giant suns, the breathing pulse of their fires, the eternal explosion of life. Now death.
But Life again.
The waves of this changing tide burned red in reflections, calling me out to seek the blue.
The green, the Earth in between.
I gave in and
I made you.

 

 

~Líadan Rán
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[Featured image Pandora’s Cluster, courtesy of HubbleSite.org]

Of Wild Wanderings & Summer Heat

Where have the Wildlings wandered to?

When the Earth is heated and moist, and dew clings to fresh green leaves, the Wilds beckon us home,

To wander without being lost in the wild wood and thickets, near the river bank, under a full moon at Ocean’s tides, upon the windy cliffs and hills drawing ever nearer up the Mountain.

We are not at home; Summer is here, and the weather is warm and sultry, demanding dancing and crafting and riding.

Earthly scents mingle together, sweet hyacinth and water lilies, boggy cypress and wet soil, filling the hot and humid air with the promise of light and love and life.

Midsummer is near and the Wildlings are not at home…

They wander, these wild ones, seeking the Enlightenment, Transcendence, the Spirit of plant and animal, and Ancestors’ ancient wisdom.

Trees and herbs rejoice at their coming and the Sky parts in promise, giving life and lust back to us mortals, and demanding the cycle be born anew.

Within tempestuous Nebulae

Stars collide
Within these eyes
Memories seducing
Blood alive
Cosmic shifts
Rip meaning from time…
And I became high
A sweet euphoria
awareness
Pulsating in rhythm
To this
Galactic lullaby

[Featured image: Cone Nebula, star forming region located within the constellation Monoceros; photo courtesy of constellation-guide.com]

I dreamed this dream of wooded Wilds

I dreamed this dream of wooded wilds, dripping moisture in the grey air. The Earth’s many scents release when the rain drops onto pine needles and oak leaves. The pat-pat sound of the rain on the palmetto fronds is familiar in my mind.

I rise from my bed, surrounded by quiet and the familiar hum of the ceiling fan. It is early morning, the hour of in between twilight just before dawn, and I hear a voice. A man’s voice outside. From deep inside the dark cool trees, his voice travels out to me. I know that voice.

I wander out of the house, at odd morning hours. My bare feet padding down the lawn leading to the edge of the woods. I hear a crow, the rain, and his voice calling to me.

So I enter that wild realm of insects, birds, spirits. The wild god who waits for me.

He calls to me again, his voice warm and dark as fertile soil. My pulse thickens inside my skin. Shivers tremble up and down my spine, but still I long to find him.

I wander with soft steps on sacred ground. The smells inundate me, decay and life and rain. I weave through the thick trunks of ancient trees, winding thickets of brush and bole, over roots jutting out on my path.

And then I find him. He waits for me by a stream. The sounds of pipe and drum hit me then, though he holds no instrument in his hands.

His face is unmistakable, though I only ever see it in dreams. He whispers my name, and I approach his perch above the swirling water.

“Look,” he tells me. “Your strength is in this shadow, buried beneath the birch tree.” He smiles a cryptic smile, as a teacher might to his student who is working out the solution to something in her own mind. There are no birch trees here.

He reaches his hands out to me, and I take them in mine. His hands are warm and rough, mine cold and unsure.

He pulls me to his body, his warmth, his earthly knowledge. He smells of pine and soil and the decay of leaves.

His mouth covers my own, and I suck him in, all the scents and senses, the knowledge and heat.

Then I wake. I’ve had this dream before. It’s as if this vision, this dream message and messenger are begging for clarification. And I can’t seem to (or I’m not meant to) decipher it yet. But it’s always the same, always ends before the best part.

I like these dreams though, when I have them. They’re comforting and mysterious, as if my fate can be divined by some dream Being’s mood swings in the ephemeral world.

 

 

[Featured photo found on Pinterest]