Pop the cork and let the verbage fall. This is the point where you write the words your characters are speaking. Mr. Bell suggests that you ONLY write the dialogue. No quote marks, attributions or action beats. Open the scene and let the characters improvise. Go with the flow my friends. Now, with this method the chances of chopping out bits is a high probability. But do it anyway. It’s practice and may open up a whole new idea for your story. We are all about the inspiration on this blog. As you go back through your quick dump of dialogue you can also consider your action tags and add the proper punctuation. But for now…open up the flood gates and let it go.
“Let it go, let it go…” Let it flow, let it flow…You sing it your way and I will sing it mine. Either way, you now hate me for getting that song stuck in your head. HA! You get to carry around my crazy for the rest of the day. You are welcome. How are we this lovely day? Do you have a fresh cuppa? I need to run and top mine off, do the same if the need exists. Hang on a sec…miss me? Did you grab a nibble along the way? Good for you. Now all we need are our copies of How to Write Dazzling Dialogue by James Scott Bell. Got it? What do you mean you left it in your other bag? Argh. Okay, well follow along and read this section when you get a chance.
Parent, Adult, Child
Back in the 60s a book called Games People Play by Dr. Eric Berne was published. It was a hit. Mr. Bell had no idea whether “transactional analysis” has or had any validity. But one idea became a strong tool for writing dialogue. This all led Bell to the book Writing Fiction That Sells by Jack Bickham.
So, what the heck is transactional analysis? The gist is that we tend to see ourselves and those around us as playing a certain role in life. There are three.
- Parent: This is the authority figure. The one that tends to lay out the rules and enforces them. They fall into the “final word” of things.
- Adult: Even-tempered, even-minded individual. They are more balanced and rational about things in life. This is the person you want at your side in a crisis.
- Child: Irrational, whiny, tantrum-throwing, selfish person.
Imagine these individuals as you are writing dialogue. Who, of your characters, falls into these roles? Let their words represent their position. It is also easier to see where the conflict can occur within the story. Think about it. Based on these descriptions, the Parent and Child seem more likely to clash. Whereas the Adult looks like the one who will pull them apart and start offering reason in the situation.
“How dare they be the voice of reason!”
Be careful with Adult Adult conversations. These fall into the “sitting at the coffee shop with a friend” encounters. They are fine once in a while, but if you get heavy handed with these make sure to throw in some conflict. The fear factor works better in these areas. (See earlier posts for this information.)
During some scenes it is not odd to have your characters change roles. The Adult can shift to the Parent or the Child depending on their need. Using the three roles can be flexible based on the needs of the story. For example: I, personally, can be all three depending on the situation. We all can, based on the people around us. Right here, I like to keep it light and silly in spots, so maybe I’m the Child. Yet, I am sharing information and attempting to enlighten you- so…Adult?
See what I mean? We are all three tucked neatly into one solid body. Cool? Or disturbing?
There is more to this chapter so slide in a bookmark. Folding the corner is book cruelty and I will tell all my friends. We will gang up on you for your vandalism of words.
We will get back to Chapter 6 with my next post.
Please remember that I am not trying to write this book for you word for word. I am skipping a lot of detail. I highly suggest you purchase the book and read between the lines.
Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.
Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.
I’m always looking for new friends!
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