Having Dialogue Anxiety?

Hello fellow writers,

For some of us dialogue comes to us easily and it’s the first thing we think of. Others of us may struggle with certain words in a phrase but know the basic idea of what we want to write. Then there are the unfortunate who don’t have a clue what the characters are going to say.

I have experienced all three of these in the writing of my books, and I’m here to give you some helpful tips as well as advice on why it may not be working for you.

When it comes down to dialogue and getting it right really depends on how well you know your characters. So please take this into consideration as I give the examples below.

Scenario 1: You know exactly what your characters are going to say and can write out conversations easily-

Congratulations! This means you know your characters very well, but you still must be careful. When you start getting used to your characters word choices you can become redundant and continually say the same things over and over again. Don’t worry though, first write everything out: finish the book, chapter, or sentence that’s in your head. Although, to avoid a catastrophe of words you must go back after a long break, and reread everything. You may be surprised how many “Aha’s, So’s and But’s” you find consistently within a chapter.This is when you must reshape and mold the words so your dialogue can flourish.

Scenario 2: You kinda sort know what you want to say, but you kinda sorta need help.

All you need to do is write, write, write. Even if you don’t know what your characters are going to say exactly, the best way to figure it out is to write out the scene. Even if the dialogue doesn’t match your characters personalities you know what is going to happen. This action forces you to get everything off your chest and its the editing part that can get a little difficult. Look over the dialogue and just continue to edit until you get your characters voice. Although I must warn you, if you try editing ten minutes after you write it, all you are going to do is frustrate yourself and be thrown into a dark place you won’t want to be in. My advice to you is skip over this section if you want to continue writing, wait a few days (a week is best) and then go back and think as hard as you want to on the dialogue. It’s never good to get dialogue anxiety and the best way to avoid dialogue becoming your enemy is by leaving it alone for a while.

If that still doesn’t help, and you can’t even write out the scene then you my dear friend are having writers block. Its at the point where you know what you want to write, you know how you want the scene to go, but you just can’t think of how to write it out.

If you need more help on writers block please visit my other posts that will help you more thoroughly:  Writers Block and How to Handle it.

Scenario 3: Your characters are elusive and there is nowhere you can go without saying to yourself, “Dang, I know what he will do but how the hell does he respond to this?”

Dialogue is hard enough as it is, but when you don’t know your characters as well as you should dialogue nearly becomes an impossibility. Think of it this way, when you are talking with a friend or a family member, you always seem to know what they’re going to say . Are you psychic!?! Sadly, your probably not. You just know that person very well, and if you know your characters well you’ll know what they’ll say in any situation. Your characters need to become your best friends, your family, and the people you know best. If you don’t know them well enough then you NEED to.

My best advice for you is to go explore the world. If someone you know acts like your character go become their best friend for a week. If your character is like a TV show star then go stalk them for a month (the character on TV, NOT the actual star. I am not encouraging you to go lurk outside someones house!) If you don’t have a clue  on anyone who is like your character, then you have to go take risks and adventurous endeavors.

For example:photo

If your single go date people you never even thought you would be interested in. You don’t have to be into them, but I will tell you this. Dating someone is going to let a lot more doors open for you then just listening in on conversations. When you date someone you get very personal and hopefully honest with the other person. You begin to notice their little quirks on the third date and possibly even learn why they’re tormented by large dogs.

Here is why I know this can work.

For about a year I was stuck on my second novel in my series. I knew what I wanted the protagonist to be like, I knew what skills he would have, but I had no clue how he would react or what he would say, because to be honest I had never met a guy like this before. Then one day an opportunity arose and a guy asked me on a few dates. To be honest I wasn’t completely into him, but I thought why not give him a chance.

That chance turned into me finally being able to step out of my writers block and write-write-write until my book was finally complete.

Meeting new people gives you the chance to meet the character you never knew!

So whether you are stuck with what to say, or if it comes fluidly, you must look over every detail. Get out into the world, listen to conversations, and explore. Dialogue may not be your top priority but it’s very important to your book, short story, or novel.

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Struggling Through the Abyss of Time

Hello Fellow Writers,

Today I will share with you a problem I have been facing over the last six months. I have bashed myself down time and time again because I simply tell myself, “I don’t have any time to write.”

Is this statement true for me as well as for you? Do you feel that time is your enemy with your studies, work, family, and friends that you are unable to make time for your writing?

For some this is a daily struggle, others a few times a month, and a few that hardly have to worry about time. To those of you who don’t worry about timing Hurray to you! but for the rest of us time-crunchers, here are a few of my thoughts that may help you as well as me.

imageThe way we writers must view things no matter how busy we are is that time doesn’t stop just because you’ve stopped writing. You may want to be a big famous author or poet one day, but here’s the thing, if you aren’t writing you are stuck in time. The literary world isn’t going to stop the busy route it’s taking and slab you on the best sellers list.

You have to work for that all on your own.

You won’t be handed your accomplishments, instead you will have to work for what you want in life. We as writers must MAKE time everyday to write, we must make time to market ourselves every week, and we most certainly have to send out our works at least once a month. You need to start being that annoying writer who never takes no for an answer. Get your name out to the public, the publishers, and the literary agents. You need to imagine yourself as a persistent hornet, striking at every opportunity you are given.

Praying to God, talking to your friends, and writing when you simply feel like it isn’t going to be enough.

In america we have this sort of motto, that you can do anything you put your heart to, AS LONG AS YOU WORK YOUR TAIL OFF!

There are no tomorrows without the beginning of today, so start getting off the “another day” train and begin writing today!

Write, write, write.

Work, work, work.

And Advertise yourself.

I know that time might seem like it’s out to get you, but honestly only you can take time by the shirt collar and hold it down to go in the direction you want. Time is not completely our enemy, it just takes the courage to becomes friends with it and make it a frenemy.

Move On To Write Long

We writers have all been there before, the horrifying truth that you are, in fact stuck. You are unable to keep your words flowing, and you can’t seem to think of the next step. Some of us may call this writers block, and most of the time it is. There are other times though, when you just feel dry, like you’re sick of writing the same story over and over again.

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What I’m here to tell you is to MOVE on.

It does us no good to just stare at our computers for hours trying to think of the next big step you or your character must take. What’s important is that you keep writing.

Getting stuck on a certain piece of your writing may make you angry, and impatient to finish, but what I have learned is that when you push yourself to finish a project even though you aren’t feeling it, the story is going to turn out horrible!

Trust me I have done it many times. Staring at the page without a thought in my mind is torture, but what is even more treacherous is reading the end result after bulldozing through. To help you through this, I have something I would like to share.

There’s a secret I’m going to tell you about myself that might frighten you, but could eventually help you along your writing careers.

I am one of those people who have a million thoughts zooming through my head. I have so many ideas for books that I begin to start a few chapters into a new book, but then stop after the first day. At first I thought this was my downfall, because I’m also the type of person who likes to finish what I have started in a timely matter. (In other words I’m impatient and I don’t like a jumbled mess of projects- it distracts me too much). I have realized  over the past few years of my writing that this also helps me.

Let me explain.

To have more than one project to work on isn’t a bad thing. It helps you move along fluidly in your writing life. Yes, it might be a bit of a mess, but it sure helps you write longer.

If you are stuck on a story and it’s the only thing you are writing on, then you can’t do much practice now can you? With more projects its easier to move on from where you’re stuck and continue to write what you love. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, there are certain ways to help you with writers block, or ways to help your creative juices flowing, but this is probably the most important to a writer.

As we all know,

The more you write, the better writer you become.

Isn’t that our ultimate goal, to become the best writer we can be?

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If you need more help on writing, look around at my different posts. If you can’t find what your looking for feel free to ask me a question in the Thoughts box below.

As always, I love listening to everyone, so don’t be shy.

A. Willow

Writers Block And How To Handle It

We have all been there. The page is blank with anticipation. You can seem to feel the vibration of the keys that you  want beneath your fingertips, but have no words to compensate them. Your inspiration is at a loss, your ideas are down the drain, and you are left with the  BIG   WHITE   PAGE.

This my dear friends is writers block.

Many a time have I been through this torture. In fact I have went through this many times within my books. It is a dilemma we must all face as writers, but it doesn’t have to be your way of life. Below I will show you how to overcome this issue through different circumstances.

writers-block[1] (2)Fresh Out of Ideas-

If you are stuck on the imaginative side of any project than you need to read. Reading helps make the creative juices flow, and as soon as you get your ideas back immediately stop the reading and turn your words into a page of wonder.

Other ways you could come up with more ideas is by simply watching a movie, surfing the web, and even just talking to your best friend or next door neighbor about what they think. If you are at a loss of creative ideas than you must look elsewhere for them.

Inspiration has Disapeared-

I have felt this very often. Its not that you lose inspiration for the passion you have with your book, but rather, you lost interest in your writing  at the moment. You feel like “Eh, I can do this tomorrow.” or “I’m not really feeling like writing today.”

My answer to you is follow nature. I have mentioned it better in my other post Nature’s Blessing ( https://a0willow.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/natures-blessing/ ) if you would like to go more in-depth with this section.

Nature gives you a chance to connect with your surroundings. When you connect with things you tend to feel more inspired with them as well. Get outside and breathe in the fresh air.

Don’t Know the Next Step-

If you are currently writing a book or a short story and are clueless as to how the next part is going to go- skip this section! If you have ideas for what comes after that particular part than trudge on through. The more you write your book the easier it is to know what you want to do with it.

Writers Block is one of the most infamous struggles writers must face. If you have writers block at all there are a few key things you can do to help yourself: read, write something different, take a break to get inspired, and brainstorm with friends. If that doesn’t help at all and you still can’t think of anything I would stop working on your project and try to write for something else.

Hope that helps and let me know if you have any Q’s.

A. Willow