Talking Trivial

Dialogue is important. Without it the entire novel would be a meaningless narrative. Yawn.  But why is writing dialogue so challenging? There are many reasons and I’ve touched on a few, but this time the reason isn’t trivial.

Trivialities in conversation can draw out a scene necessarily. It’s also mind-numbing boring. There are a few reasons trivialities in dialogue suck. One, nobody, and I mean nobody talks like that. Maybe in old sit-coms from the 50’s. Two, it’s probably filler conversation with no actual impact on the story. Three, if you’re watching that word count (even if you’re not) trivial conversation will kill the numbers.

So what do I mean? Let me demonstrate.

Dale sat at his desk in a slump. “Good morning Amber.” 
“Oh good morning Dale.” Amber replied and smiled.
“Did you have a good night last night?”
“Indeed I did, thank you for asking.”
“Was it better than the night before?”
“Yes, it was much better than Saturday night. And how was your night?”
“It was good.” Dale nodded and turned his computer on.
“Oh? What did you do Dale?”
Dale leaned back in his chair facing Amber. “I watched the game with Scott.”
“That’s good that you watched the game with Scott. Did you have a bit too much to drink?” Amber said while swiveling her chair from side to side
“I definitely had too much to drink for a Sunday night. Did you have time to think over our conversation from Friday?”
“I did think things over quite a bit and I have decided.”
“And what did you decide Amber?”
“I have decided to date you.”
“That’s good to hear, so you will give me a real chance?”
“Yes. I will give you a chance. We do have good chemistry.”
“I agree completely Amber. We do have good chemistry.”
“Dale, would you like to go for lunch today?”
“Yes. I would very much like to for lunch today.” Dale faced his computer as Valery approached.
(217)

Did you notice it? Even as I wrote that I was cringing from the repetitiveness. Make that four reasons trivialities are dull to read. Trivial conversation is a complete waste of space and if I come across it in a book my eyes float over the words skipping them or stop reading. It’s hard to focus on a story.  The other annoying aspect is neither have any character, its dry, dull and monotone. Nothing happened other than they chatted about Sunday night and made lunch plans. I think I’ll tidy that up a smidge.

Dale sat at his desk in a slump. “Good morning Amber.” 
Amber smiled. “Oh morning Dale.”
“Were you able to sleep better last night?” Dale turned his computer on.
“Yes thank God.” Amber rolled her eyes. “What’d you get up to? You look like hell warmed over.”
Dale leaned back in his chair facing Amber as she swiveled her chair side to slide. “Yeah, I watched the game with Scott and polished off a six-pack.”
Amber shook her finger at him as if he were naughty. “Tisk, tisk, on a Sunday no less.” 
“I’m paying the price. So did you decide?”
She nodded and glanced around surreptitiously. “You’ve proven we have chemistry so yes,” Her eyes darted about again. “We can be exclusive.”
He grinned.
Amber tilted her head slightly. “Lunch?” She shuffled her chair back into her desk.
“You bet.” He spied Valery approaching and turned to face his computer.
(151)

Whew, 66 words removed. Trivialities really do add the extra weight to the word count. Dale and Amber are not stiff nor are they proper. Therefore slang, jargon and comfortable interaction is necessary. There were only a few things I needed the reader to know, It’s Monday, Amber’s not sleeping well, he’s concerned, she decided to date him and he’s happy about it.

My advice about trivial writing.
Warm it up and relax the dialogue by letting the characters have the reins. Just make sure to keep it individual to the character speaking.

-Sheryl

Other posts I’ve written

Karma. It really is a B*tch

The secret’s out

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Meaningless

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7 thoughts on “Talking Trivial

      1. Your welcome. The thing is, your very clear and it is obvious to me at least, your meaning and intent. I LOVE your writing. I can’t for the life of me, figure out why your book hasn’t been published because if the writing I see here is indicative of what you do, it’s brilliant. Mine on the other hand has progressed and improved BECAUSE of you and reading your input and suggestions. I want to re-write in it’s entirety the book I published because it would be so much better, now. I can’t thank you enough for all you give and do. It’s incredible, giving, heartwarming and important. Especially for those such as me who write off the cuff without any prior knowledge, but write what they feel. so kudos huge along with an ear to ear grin.

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        1. Wow, that is incredibly nice of you to say so. The problem is wading through the slush piles. I queried over 100 agents and now have a 2-12 week wait to see what happens. As I get ‘no’s’ and I’m getting a bunch, I query a different agent in the agency. It is a long process, but I think it will be worth it. I rewrote BiaAtlas twice. Took a year and a half of editing and revising (With breaks for other projects of course) It warms my heart that you and maybe others are finding my trials and tribulations helpful. I like to give my opinion so this blog is a great way for me to do that and share what I’ve learned. I appreciate that you take the time to let me know that what I’ve written means something to you. ❤

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          1. There are some that speak to you on a personal bases whether intended or not, and you are one of those, which tells me that your writing is personal and on track, not only because you build a rap ore with that characters you write and I read but also with you the author, which can’t be overstated since many fall in live with the story and hence the writer drawn in by the underlying personality that shines through. Literally has to since it’s your work, so in essence you put yourself on display with everything you write, which let’s face it makes both the experience of writing and putting it out there personal and vulnerable and even risky. Just one woman’s thought on the matter, hehe

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