When I can make myself laugh on a read through six months later, I know I’ve done something right. Either that or my sense of humor hasn’t developed any. There are moments in my writing that I’m quite proud of, moments where I go “I wrote that? That was me? Damn I’m good.” Sadly those moments aren’t quite as frequent as I would like, but they happen, and that is what is important. They’re often enough to satiate my ego.
My first writing instructor complimented me on my settings and then suggested I work on improving my dialogue. It was both the best and worst advice I could have received, because I went on and took a play-writing class. If you’re not familiar with what happens in a play script, it’s a lot of dialogue, a few directional cues, and the briefest amount of setting instructions possible. I spent an entire semester learning how to write dialogue. By the time I came out of it, I was actually pretty good at it, or at least, that’s what I tell myself.
But now I can’t write setting to save my life.
But that’s okay, because dialogue is fun to write. The witty repartee between two characters, the veiled insults, the not-so-veiled insults, things happen, information is learned, and I don’t have to try and describe what a tree looks like.
As proud as I am of my dialogue, doing that well—and by well I mean it makes me grin when I read it—doesn’t bring about a sense of reward. I know I can write dialogue. It’s when I go back and read over the rest of the story and find some scene where nobody is talking that moves me, a scene that I actually feel was well written. That’s when I can feel proud of what I’ve done. Because I wrote something challenging—and wrote it well.
I just wish it happened more often.
Thanks for the dialogue, professor, but can I have my settings back?