Friday, December 10, 2010

my life according to facebook (and other opinions on fictional dialogue)

the following image is a collage of my facebook status updates from the year 2010. 
some of them are funny, some of them tell a story or just describe my mood at the time.
but the thing that struck me as i read through them is that they all have substance. 
my biggest pet-peeve in fictional dialogue is boring words! 
what are boring words?  in my opinion they're words like:
"how are you?"
"it's nice to meet you."
 "i agree."
 "sounds fun!"
 "let's go."
"have a good day!"
"bye for now."
of course these are words/phrases that we use a million times in ever day conversation,
but they don't move the story. 
and if you use them too much (in my opinion, at all) the story is going to be boring and i'm going to put it down before i get to the juicy stuff. 
fictional dialogue should start somewhere in the middle of the conversation. 
you only have a few words to capture an audience, so you need to do it quickly!
  take facebook status updates.
when was the last time you updated your profile with, "hi everyone!" or "i'm doing good today." it just doesn't happen.  i was scanning my own list of this year's updates and here are a few of my favorites:
  • meatloaf has a bad wrap for a reason.
  • i feel bad about the fact that swearing actually does make me feel better.
  • i think i just got into a face-to-face argument with the UPS guy.
i never said, hi. i never asked the facebook world how it was doing.  but i didn't have to.
so the next time you're putting words in your characters' mouths, try starting in the middle of the conversation and see what happens.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Ms. Palmer, I am trying to reach you regarding your novel, Second Kiss, which has been nominated for a Whitney Award in the YA General category. I can't seem to find any contact information for you. Would you please email me at

    So you know that this is not spam, please check out the Whitney Award website:

    Anyway, please get in touch with me at your earliest convenience.