Tink...tink...tink...anyone out there? Hi! I'm Barbara Donlon Bradley - Author - editor and slightly crazy - ask anyone in my family. I hope to use this blog to talk about writing, editing and whatever pops in my head. Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Writing Down the Bones: Dialogue and Foreshadowing

In that rough draft you wrote you didn't care if you repeated yourself a lot. You just wanted to get the story to paper. Now, though, that part is done and you need to start looking at every word, the dialogue the description, the scene.

Here's an example:

"I like that dress." Mary stared at the dress on the manikin in the display window.
"I like it too," said Susie.
"Wonder if my bank account will like it as much as I do."
"You gonna', like, find out?"

There is an awful lot of likes in that section. Overall it tells what you want but it definitely needs to be reworded.  

Here it is rewritten:
"Isn't that a pretty dress." Mary stared at the black gown on the manikin in the display window. Wouldn't she look good in that.
"Nice," said Susie. "But you always had good taste."
"Yeah, good taste but no money. Not anymore. Wonder if my bank account will like it as much as I do."
"There is only one way to find out." Susie grabbed her friend by the hand and pulled her into the store.

I only kept one of those likes in that section and added more description to support my dialogue.


There are a lot of little things you need to look for with dialogue. If you have them talking about what drink they are ordering it should only be a line or two. If it takes them a half of page to get that order in and there is nothing else going on in your dialogue then your reader is going to think this is very important to the plot when it's not.

Just like the scene above. If that dress isn't important to the story then why would I want to have it in my book? Now if later I show her wearing the dress  it would make sense to have this scene. This scene of her buying the dress is foreshadowing the later scene and it gives you key information. One she is conscious of money. Might be the type of person who doesn't spend it frivolously. She might be on a tight budget and knows something like this could set her back. Perhaps she came from money and now has to live on a budget. And I can work this back into the later scene hen she wears the dress.

Here's what I mean:
Mary brushed her hands down her gown. A year ago she would have bought this dress and put it in her closet, not thinking about how much it cost, but that was before she cut ties with her father.  After he demanded she marry the man he chose for her or lose the money he had she learned how to live without. Better to be poor and free than rich and trapped.

Now the first scene makes perfect sense. You get a hint of what type of character she was before and then the second scene reinforces it.

More later ...


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