Conversations and dialogue

I have a habit of posting conversations I have had throughout the day on my Facebook wall. I don’t know why I do this, but if I were to hazard a guess, I would say it has to be because I like to laugh. What I share are tidbits I found amusing, usually no more than I few lines, that tend to end with a silly little punchline. I don’t know if anyone else finds them funny, but I write them for myself and I find them hysterical.

Take yesterday’s heart-stopping installment:

I had a co-worker tell me that she didn’t have any friends. Being the nice guy that I am, I told her I’d be her friend. Then being the guy that I am, I asked her if it was a paying position. She just laughed. I’m guessing no.

Or this one from a few weeks ago:

In today’s installment of My Job
Me: (As I complete putting in an order) Skadoosh!
Coworker: You say that too! You’re my new best friend.
Me: Sorry, I already have a best friend, but I’ll keep you in mind in case I piss mine off.
Coworker: (laughs)

There seems to be no real substantive reason for writing it, either than to amuse myself, but I can’t help wonder if there may be a hidden payoff.

I write a lot of dialogue in my works. The dynamics the two people have fascinates me. Inner monologue bores me, but a conversation between two or more people engages my imagination. Conversations are conduits to discovery for the readers and for the characters engaged in the conversation. I see the scene in my head, much like a movie, and dialogue is essential to moving the story forward.

The trouble I have with my writing, and it’s one that those who have read my works have commented on, is that my dialogue tends to be stilted. When I’m rereading a scene, I have to agree. I write how I would like to speak, not the way people actually speak. I use a vocabulary that’s a bit beyond what we use in our daily life, and I’m fine with that. I want to elevate the way we speak, not dumb it down. There’s an element of wish-fulfillment in that I am a horrible verbal communicator. I wish I could speak as well as I write. I hope I write as well as I think I do. I just have to learn how to write it a bit more conversationally.

So I actively listen to how people talk. What are they saying? How are they phrasing it? Can I adequately replicate their style of speech, their inflections and such? Am I over-thinking it? Can someone help me!

Maybe sharing the conversations I find funny will help me learn how to better write dialogue, but maybe not. Maybe it doesn’t matter. In the end, I think I just like reliving what made me laugh in the first place. Whether or not you or anyone else finds it funny doesn’t really matter. Except it does. I really want to be a more effective writer.

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