Dialogue to Keywords Success

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On Sunday, I wrote about editing my piece in a hurry for tonight’s writer’s group. I felt only so-so about the results…in other words, I wanted to throw it across the room, but also didn’t want to rewrite it yet again in order to present it to the group.

Turns out my desire to launch was one of those knee-jerk reactions of just being WAY too close to a piece…and too tired.

In my writer’s group, someone other than the author reads the piece aloud. This was frightening at first, but it really does give you as the writer a good outside perspective on your words. Where do people stumble? Is there a word that pops out? Where does the other person put the emphasis?

There are always some points where I cringe: could I use “just” any more in a three page section? And there are always nice surprises: that sounds like a professional wrote that!

While I won’t go so far as saying that was my reaction tonight, I was pleased with the edited section of what I shared. I spent some heavy editing time on one portion of a scene and ignored the beginning. However, I added the beginning to what I shared in order to give some context.

I’m glad I did because I could clearly hear where I started editing the piece. Each of my characters had one action they performed for almost the entire scene…and they did it on repeat. How many times can one really stare off into the distance within the span 5 pages? Really.

While I don’t think I’ll be paring down any other my other dialogues into keywords for the time being, I do think the exercise was a success. Huzzah!

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5 thoughts on “Dialogue to Keywords Success

  1. Congratulations! 🙂
    In my writing group, we usually read our own pieces out loud. I’ve actually thought about suggesting the other way around, and encouraged by your post I think I’ll do that.

    • Thank you. It was relief!

      I hope your writing group gives it a try. People can be very resistant. When we’ve had new members, they’ve come up with every excuse as to why they’re an exception but once someone else has read their piece they see the benefits. Or, rather, they hear the benefits.

      The author bring copies of their work for everyone, someone reads the work aloud and then we have two minutes to write comments before we start our discussion. This has evolved over time and really works for us.

      What does you group do?

  2. That sounds like a good way to do things. We once tried reading each other’s things out loud, but it was an experiment and we haven’t done it since, although I think generally everybody thought it was a useful.
    Usually one member puts a piece up on our private blog a couple of days before we meet. Then we have time to write down our comments beforehand and discuss it right away. Afterwards the person whose work we have discussed presents us all with a challenge/writing prompt and we get 30 minutes to work on it. Then we all (mostly; now and then one of us hasn’t got anything we want to share) read our take on it out loud to the others and get comments. If we have more time after that we just work on our individual projects.

      • The prompts are interesting. We’ve done everything from writing our main characters as the opposite gender or something in a specific genre (such as “western” or “sci fi” or “romance”) to pure dialogue pieces and stories about food.

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