Thursday, September 29, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Dialogue is something a lot of blossoming writer’s struggle with due to the variety of techniques and approaches. I find the possibilities for successful dialogue endless. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are many ways to create bland, unrealistic dialogue. There are a few basic rules to abide that will ensure your conversation is received as an authentic representation of the interaction.
1- People do not speak in perfect grammar. Although you may be tempted to keep form and write the entirety of your dialogue as such, remember that you are trying to convey real people discussing a real topic. For practice, pay close attention in conversations to witness how inelegant and stylized human dialogue actually can be.
2- Carefully emphasize the dialogue with descriptive words that explain how someone said something. Every utterance we speak has a tone or inflection that informs others how we are feeling. We do not strictly say our words. People whisper, shout, guess, explain, reprimand, etc., the list is endless.
3- When someone speaks, they also display their thoughts and emotions through actions. Some people move their hands constantly; others are very rigid and stoic. For most of us, the action directly relates to what we are saying. Pair the dialogue with appropriate gestures and movements that coincide with the words when necessary.
It should be noted that not every line of dialogue needs the aforementioned accoutrements. Some sentences are straightforward, lacking any verbal or physical emotion. In that case, just writing the line will suffice. Be sure to practice dialogue so you can get the gist of how to convey different meanings. You could even follow the expression map and focus on specific emotions that arise in conversation. Another option is writing down a real life discussion and see if you felt the same while having the talk as you do after reading it on paper (a variation of this exercise would be copying television or movie dialogue onto paper and assessing its effectiveness).
Discovering which route works best will provide a practice outlet that ultimately leads to entertaining and believable dialogue.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
It’s never too early to think about the holidays. And whether we like it or not, birthdays come around every year as well. A struggling market for these seasons is gifts for foodies. I’ve noticed over the years that foodies are generalized into a single grouping and ideas for their celebratory gifts are lacking creativity. Oh, a cookbook? How original. Unless your friendly neighborhood foodie requests a cookbook as a gift, it is likely something they’ve already invested in so it often reflects the same impersonal air as flowers and chocolates on Valentine’s Day.
Perhaps we should start with what a foodie is to begin with. We’re normal, everyday people who enjoy the sensory and adventurous experiences food can offer. Some foodies translate that love into their own kitchens, while others seek their cravings outside their homes. Before purchasing any gifts, make the executive decision of which kind of avenue best reflects the foodie in your life. If the person in question dabbles in both, then you’re in luck. Finding a present will likely be easier for you.
Some basic ideas are (as previously mentioned) a cookbook or a gift card. Try and turn these blank canvases into something that will appear more personal. Maybe they are looking to try their hand at Asian cuisine or sample its bounty at the local bistro. However, I encourage you to delve deeper. Kitchen accessories such as towels or trivets parallel the mundane predictability of a cookbook. Peruse specialty stores for ideas. A unique appliance or gadget that allows for an advancement in culinary creativity will reward you with a gold star. Or, treat them to a new food experience. Check out recently opened fare or a multi-course meal. Investigate avant garde locations for a true foodieventure.
Expand your ideas to the horizon and look beyond the obvious. Most foodies love to document their meals, so a new camera might do the trick. Touring an establishment or collection of locations is another possibility. In the same vein, a winery or brewery could really get their juices flowing. If this special person in your life has a more expensive taste, you could invest in a trip to a food-rich community, state or country. Try not to be blinded by the cookbook roadblock and seek individualized ideas that will cater to their refined palate. Happy hunting!