Archive | May, 2013

An Interview with Jedah Mayberry

30 May
Jedah Mayberry's debut novel The Unheralded King of Preston Plains Middle is out now from River Grove Press.

Jedah Mayberry’s debut novel The Unheralded King of Preston Plains Middle is out now from River Grove Press. You can read the opening pages here.

Jedah Mayberry is the only writer-engineer combination that I’ve ever met. He holds degrees in engineering from Georgia Tech and North Carolina A&T, and amassed several US and foreign patents before returning to his first love, fiction writing. His debut novel, The Unheralded King of Preston Plains Middle, is set in southeastern Connecticut, where he spent most of his youth. He lives with his wife and teenage daughters in Austin, TX.

In this interview, Mayberry discusses country-boy/city-boy story lines, the influence of Edwidge Danticat, and how he’s built a writing community without an MFA.

Michael Noll

I  really like the opening paragraph from the chapter titled Turnabout. You manage to tell us the history and geography of the town of Preston in a way that gives it a personality. You do this, in part, by focusing on what the town is not. How did you approach this passage?

Jedah Mayberry

It was primarily a way to place Preston on the map: north of this, west of that, removed from the other. I started with a hill-and-dale, stroll-through-the-meadow description, and then decided that approach wouldn’t work for what I wanted to accomplish. First, there is very little mass to Preston itself. The town literally sits at the intersection of a couple of two lane roads leading off in either direction through farmland and cow pastures. Second, the contrast between Preston and the surrounding urban centers is where the story derives much of its energy, placing Langston and Trajan outside their element when the time comes to venture to Norwich or New London. The setting introduces a new wrinkle on the country-boy/city-boy encounter when the country-boy would appear,at least by skin tone, more at home with his city counterparts. Yet, quite the opposite is true, giving the brothers a fish out of water feel when they start high school. Focusing attention on what Preston is not underlines the gap the boys need to cross, uneasy footing in part contributing to the various difficulties each encounters along the way.

Michael Noll

The novel approaches an intimate story about a family from the viewpoint of history and migration. How does the large-scale world of the story inform the events that take place? Why start with the broad view of history and geography?

Jedah Mayberry

Rearranging things to preserve a linear progression in scope is the single most outstanding contribution the substantive editor made.

The Unheralded King of Preston Plains Middle is the debut novel from Jedah Mayberry.

The Unheralded King of Preston Plains Middle follows the story of Trajan Hopkins, an African-American teen in a small Connecticut town and the tragic accident that forever changes his life and that of his brother, an Olympic-hopeful athlete whose dreams come to an end.

I invariably encounter people who are surprised to learn that I grew up in CT, that people of color actually live there. I felt it was important to trace the roots a bit to lend credible explanation as to how this family tree grew into (and out of) CT in the first place, how these two boys wound up in close proximity to Norwich yet still managed to fall culturally outside the reach of the kids whom they most resembled.

(Interesting to note, the boys’ appearance is only the surface telling to the story. Later in the narrative, we learn that Langston’s name originated with Langston Hughes, a deep cultural root that ultimately bridges his connection with one of the first Norwichton girls he encounters.) As the story progresses, I introduce a friend/turned villain as well as a suspected villain/turned pseudo-savior. I weave their threads in a similar way using a bit of family history to explain how they wound up in the River Valley as well.

Michael Noll

I know that you’re a fan of the work of Edwidge Danticat. How has her writing influenced your own? Do you at all borrow from or find inspiration in her language, voice, structure, or mixture of biography and fiction?

Jedah Mayberry

I have certainly tried to emulate her voice, speaking as plainly as possible while attending to the world surrounding the characters, working to provide a somewhat out-of-the-ordinary description of a scene without it seeming outlandish or overly ornate, e.g. melding the interrelationship between tribes in molten lava, characterizing the arrival of New Yorkers and Bostonians as a Martian Landing. I’ve gotten lots of feedback on those passages, how they stuck with the reader. I also worked to have something of interest going on in the background to help propel the story: the Eastern Pequot’s petition to be recognized as a sovereign state (which incidentally is still ongoing, not to mention the casino’s impact on the surrounding area). This isn’t quite as traumatic an uprising of one people against another as the one that plays backdrop in Danticat’s The Farming of Bones, ultimately resulting in the massacre of scores of Haitians working as laborers and domestics on the Dominican side of the island. But, based in truth nonetheless, the Native American sub-theme lends color to the region, contributing to the story in its own right.
Michael Noll

There is sometimes an expectation among aspiring writers that they must attend a MFA program. But many writers find different routes to becoming published. That was the case for you. As a result, I’m curious what your writing community looks like? What has helped in your development as a writer?

Jedah Mayberry

I read somewhere recently that a stocked bookshelf is a poor man’s approximation of an MFA. I spend lots of time reading, working to identify what in a particular piece worked for me, how the author succeeded in connecting me to his/her characters, to the story line.

Connect with Jedah Mayberry and find out what he's reading at Goodreads.

Connect with Jedah Mayberry and find out what he’s reading at Goodreads.

Right now, I’m reading Ghana Must Go (Taiye Selasi) as part of a goodreads book group I joined. She uses a lot of singsong in her language, which I worry some might find distracting. However, her description of things (various degrees of snowfall most notably, how the most crippling blizzard starts with a flutter of the first few flakes) is remarkable. She deals with some very complex human interactions, starting with a father to his children, a pair of twins, the connection between which always seems fascinating. She gives each character a special ability to read people or see people or appease people, and then works those characteristics consistently throughout the book. I look at it as an intense study in character development.

So, my community consists of book groups enabling me to discuss openly my take on a piece we’ve read alongside oftentimes differing opinions. A bunch of people from my undergrad (I have a masters in science as opposed to fine arts) started a group on Facebook that caters to alumni in the arts. There are a half-dozen published authors in the group, mostly spiritual-based or strongly Afrocentric. My aim is to push the literary bent first, undoubtedly with a strong cultural base. I’ve gotten lots of insights from them on things related to the publishing industry itself if not actual writing content.

There is an active Tumblr community out there as well, though I’m finding its somewhat diffuse. I’ve discovered a few literary sites. I was recently “followed” by a member funded library based in Brooklyn, NY (mellowpageslibrary). I sent them a copy of the book over the weekend to add to their collection. (BTW, they posted a picture of Amelia Gray with a copy of Threats in recent weeks. She’s someone I met at an ASF sponsored reading a year or so ago. Seeing her photo solidified credibility for me in what mellow pages is doing.)

I also claim the short fiction workshop you facilitated as invaluable in my establishing confidence in my voice. I recognize there were a couple of people in the group who didn’t really dig what I was sharing (as well as one who pretended to). But, a couple others really resonated with it and shared with me at the conclusion of the workshop how much they looked forward to seeing me do something with it. And, you were the first person to tell me that I wasn’t a short story writer necessarily, that I should focus on scene, but write longer, put the story down end-to-end then work to fill in detail. That’s essentially the formula I followed with this latest project. So thank you for that.

May 2013

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Michael Noll is the editor of Read to Write.

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Describe Setting Without Getting Lost in the Details

28 May
The Unheralded King of Preston Plains Middle is the debut novel from Jedah Mayberry.

The Unheralded King of Preston Plains Middle is the debut novel from Jedah Mayberry. You can read the opening pages here.

In a story or novel, how do you describe an entire town or geographical area without getting lost in the details?

Many writers have done it, memorably Toni Morrison in Sula and F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby. Add to that list Jedah Mayberry, whose debut novel, The Unheralded King of Preston Plains Middle, begins with a description of a small New England town that demonstrates how to distill history, culture, migration, geography, and demography into a single short passage.

The novel is new out from River Grove Press, and you can read the opening pages here.

How the Story Works

Ernest Hemingway famously claimed that the best writing omitted far more detail than it included–meaning that a story or novel resembles an iceberg, ninety percent of which is underwater. Critics have turned this idea into a theory for art, but, in truth, it merely describes an inevitable problem faced by all writers: if you’re writing what you know, then you know more than can fit into the story. But you can’t simply include and leave out details randomly. You need a method. Mayberry’s method in The Unheralded King of Preston Plains Middle becomes clear in the first sentence:

“The village of Preston is largely defined by the things it is not, by the things its expanse of working farms and decaying historic landmarks serve to divide.”

The novel tells us explicitly how it will organize details about the town. Any that do not fit into the idea of absence or division are left out. The Great Gatsby does something similar in its opening description of East and West Egg:

“I lived at West Egg, the—well, the less fashionable of the two, though this is a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little sinister contrast between them.”

In this passage, the writing quickly moves to descriptions of Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan. Those characters stand for the difference between the two places. As a result, the setting helps create character.

So that you can see how common this strategy is, here’s the opening of Sula by Toni Morrison:

“In that place, where they tore the nightshade and blackberry patches from their roots to make room for the Medallion City Golf Course, there was once a neighborhood. It stood in the hills above the valley town of Medallion and spread all the way to the river. It is called the suburbs now, but when black people lived there it was called the Bottom.”

Morrison gives us her organizing principle right away: the way the neighborhood looks now versus the way it looked then. That difference helps introduce the story, which is in part about the relations between the people who once lived in the neighborhood and the ones who have turned it into a golf course.

In all of these examples, the writers clearly identify the way they will organize details about a town or area. A place that is vast and filled with innumerable things is reduced to a single passage in a book. In other words, only the tip of the iceberg is revealed.

The Writing Exercise

Let’s follow the example set by Jedah Mayberry, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Toni Morrison.

  1. Choose a town or area to describe.
  2. Write a definition of the town that creates two groups, a la Fitzgerald and Morrison. For instance: “Everybody there was dumb except for the cops.” Or, “The town had a railroad line running through the middle of it, but the division wasn’t between poor and rich but between people living in rundown shacks and people sleeping on the ground.”
  3. Now, try writing a definition of the town that identifies a broad organizing principle, a la Mayberry. For example: “The town was defined by the opportunities it had missed.” Or, “So many people had ended up in the town by accident that everything about the place seemed ruled by random chance.”
  4. Finally, describe the town. Use the definition as inspiration and as a guide for the details.

In both #2 and #3, you can switch the order around. So, you can write the definition but save it. List the details first and then finish the description with the definition. Either way you use the strategy, you’ll begin seeing it in almost every story and book that you read.

Good luck.

What We’ll Cover in The Read Well, Write Better Workshop

25 May
Michael Noll

Join Michael Noll for the Read Well, Write Better Workshop: June 1, 2-6 p.m. at The Writing Barn in South Austin. Priced at a sliding scale of $85-150. Choose the price that fits your budget. To register, click here.

Here are 5 topics we’ll cover in the Read Well, Write Better Workshop on June 1:

How to Create a Unique Narrative Voice

How to Write Dialogue as a Duel

How to Write Dialogue as the Voice of a Community

Two Ways to Create Suspense with Setting

Three Ways to Move Through Time within a Scene

And here are 9 writers we’ll be learning from:

Aravind Adiga

Ron Carlson

Raymond Chandler

Don Delillo

Anne Enright

Dagoberto Gilb

Yiyun Li

Alice Munro

Francine Prose

Plus, everyone who registers for the class will bring a one-page excerpt from a story or novel that they love. As a class, we’ll create an exercise based on the excerpt.

A Craft Workshop with Personalized Writing Exercises

23 May
To discover a writing exercise based on one of my favorite passage from The Great Gatsby, check out my guest post at The Writing Barn's website.

To discover a writing exercise based on one of my favorite passage from The Great Gatsby, check out my guest post at The Writing Barn’s website.

It’s just nine days until The Read Well, Write Better Workshop. Here’s a sneak peak of one of the most popular exercises from past classes:

Bring one page from your favorite short story or novel—or from whatever story or novel you’re reading and loving right now. We’ll read the page together and find a craft strategy used by the author. Then, we’ll practice using the strategy in our own writing.

Because everyone brings a page from their favorite work, we’re able to generate an entire list of great new books/stories to read and a list of strategies to try out.

That’s a writing exercise personalized to your reading and writing and designed to get your excited to work.

Register for the class now by clicking here. For more information, send me an email at michaelnoll1@gmail.com. Or write me on Facebook.

Three Ways to Write Dialogue

21 May
Walter Mosley's novel, Little Green, is the latest installment in the Easy Rawlins series.

Walter Mosley’s novel, Little Green, is the latest installment in the Easy Rawlins series. You can read an excerpt from the novel at NPR’s website.

It’s become a cliche of writing workshops that, in good dialogue, the characters talk past one another. But how? For a primer, pick up any book by Walter Mosley. His most recent is Little Green, the latest in the Easy Rawlins detective series.

You can read an excerpt from the novel, here, at NPR’s website.

How the Novel Works

There are two easy ways to get characters talking past one another. The first is to give them different ends they want to achieve in the scene. The other is to provide the characters with different levels or forms of information or knowledge. (Of course, a third method is to give the characters vastly different personalities.) All of these methods are on display in these two lines from Little Green:

“I’m lookin’ for somebody for Raymond,” I said when the laughter subsided. “Evander Noon.”

 “That’s just the seesaw action,” Jo replied. “You lookin’ for yourself.”

Method 1: Notice how the first speaker, Easy Rawlins, makes his goals clear. But Jo doesn’t give a clear answer. She wants to help him but in a different way.

Method 2: Jo claims that Easy has another, deeper goal, one that only she knows. She possesses knowledge that he doesn’t. As a result, the dialogue takes on the manner of a common person talking to a sage.

Method 3: Easy is a detective, and Jo is a voodoo queen. Thus, he is direct, and she speaks in code. Their styles are determined by their personalities.

As a result, the characters talk past one another. They can’t help it. They’re different types of people with different goals and levels of information.

The Writing Exercise

Let’s trying writing dialogue using the three methods described above.

  1. Create two characters with vastly different personalities, jobs, or situations. Think about how their speaking style would be affected by the job or situation. For instance (relying on broad types), motivational speakers are intensely positive and assertive. Cops tend to speak as if everything they say has been said a thousand times before, which it has. What would happen if you put a cop and a motivational speaker together in a scene? Their styles would probably clash.
  2. Give the characters different goals for the scene. The easiest version of this is a scene involving a couple: one person wants to go out and the other wants to stay in. But there’s another way to approach the method. Make the characters’ goals different in terms of type. So, in the scene with the couple, one person wants to go out, and the other wants to leave. The goals become fundamentally different.
  3. Give the characters different levels or types of knowledge/interest. Imagine if someone has a broken toilet and so calls the plumber. The person wants a particular task to be done, but when the plumber shows up, all he wants to talk about is the metaphysical implications of cracked porcelain. Their interests and knowledge-bases will clash in the dialogue.

Good luck.

An Interview with Rene S. Perez II

16 May
Rene S. Perez II

“Lost Days” by Rene S. Perez II first appeared in The Acentos Review and is included in his debut collection, Along These Highways, which won the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Prize and was published as part of the Camino del Sol series by the University of Arizona Press.

The stories in “Along These Highways,” the debut collection from Rene S. Perez II, might best be described by that famous quote from Flannery O’Connor: “Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.”

Like many writers, Perez sets his stories in the place of his youth. What makes Perez unusual, however, is that those places are Corpus Christi, Kingsville, and South Texas, a part of the country rarely seen in literature. That is why the writer Dagoberto Gilb praises the book by writing, “Rene Perez’s collection is much more than a fine first book by an enormously gifted young writer, it is one marking trail for an ignored culture to find its way to the nation’s center.”

In this interview, Perez discusses writing flawed characters, the challenge of writing about a place where you haven’t lived in years, and the importance of small presses to Latino writers.

Michael Noll

The story is about a woman whose son, Bobby, treats her as if she’s intellectually inferior . As I read, I found myself both disliking Bobby but also understanding his actions. How did you approach the balancing act of creating character who is at once unlikable but also understandable?

Rene S. Perez II

This is something I try to do with my fiction, to create characters who, despite however flawed (arrogant, violent, ‘crazy’) they are, are justified. While it may not be apparent in the prose I write, one of my greatest influences, perhaps one of the only writers I can directly cite as being an influence, is Toni Morrison. What she does in all of her texts, starting with The Bluest Eye and Cholly and Pauline Breedlove, is create lives as contexts for her characters’ later flaws and sins. She does this with acts of infidelity, murder, infanticide, and planned terrorism, to name a few throughout her books. In each instance, she provides causal underpinnings for her characters’ actions.

My goal is never really to write crazy or depressed or, as in Bobby’s case, intellectually condescending characters, but when a plot unfolds, if the events are anything outside of the mundane, there has to be some reason for a character to have set them in motion, and in trying to create a believable reality, there has to be a believable causal chain leading characters to act as they do. That’s, really, how I approached Bobby, even with the stakes being as, seemingly, small as they are.

Michael Noll

Starbucks is central to the story. Bobby’s shifting attitudes can be traced by his reaction to the absence or presence of Starbucks. It’s a really succinct, efficient way to show a character’s development over time. Was this an intentional move on your part? Or did you discover it through revision?

Rene S. Perez II

I set out to write the story of the mother. Of course it’s about her relationship with her son, but I wanted her to be on the upswing from a dark time. I also specifically wanted this to be a story very much informed by being set in Corpus Christi. I last lived there over 10 years ago, so my Corpus stories are really of that time.

Rene Perez

To learn more about the geography of South Texas, check out this great interview with Rene S. Perez II that appeared in Critical Mass, the blog of the National Book Critics Circle Board of Directors.

Should anyone from Corpus read it and cry foul over the fact that there’s been a Starbucks (now two), not counting the stand in the Barnes and Noble, in town for over ten years, I would point out that this story is about a time when there wasn’t. I bring that up because it was a natural before-and-after time marker. There would naturally have been a time when this particular character (Bobby), at 16 or 17, likely smoking friend-bought Clove cigarettes, would have complained about the absence of a Starbucks in town. That same kid leaving for Stanford and ending up seeking out a PhD in Lubbock, now smoking rightly attained American Spirits, can be expected to have come to be above the idea of Starbucks. In seeking to have something small resulting in something very big, the idea of Bobby came to me. The Starbucks angle came naturally from that.

Michael Noll

The story is, in terms of plot, very simple: A woman walks into Starbucks, sits for a while, orders coffee, and drives away. Altogether, the events take about an hour. Yet the story is much vaster than that hour, encompassing entire lives and histories. How did you maintain the immediate story arc—woman goes into Starbucks—while at the same time developing the larger histories of the characters?

Rene S. Perez II

This story is all about the histories of the characters. A thing that I do, outside of any writing exercise, is observe people and assume a context for them. I can guess that this is something all people do to some extent, but I lose myself in it sometimes. If I am at the movies and I see someone sitting and watching alone, I guess at a set of circumstances that has put that person there alone. For some reason my imagination always takes it to a place that makes me feel crassly presumptuous—I mean, I go to movies alone all the time for reasons completely unrelated to loneliness and freakish anti-social tendencies (mostly), but I always paint sad pictures of these lives that don’t give any credit to the people actually eating a small popcorn and enjoying a matinee feature.

In setting out to write this story, I let my mind run in that familiar direction. I had a lady taking a day off. Why? How often does she do this? How has her life changed in the time since she first started taking her days? This is her first time in a coffee shop. What has happened in her life that has brought her to this new place? What brings any person into a Starbucks who isn’t a coffee person? We know what would have put Bobby there, but what would have put her there? That’s what the story is about—those things that have brought her to this hour. So it was naturally going to be a small story. I think big truths about characters can be best examined in small stories. Instead of exploring what a character would do when encountering life’s plot turns, I think a small story–woman walks into a Starbucks, gets a coffee, leaves–allows for exploring who a character is when no one else is watching. I didn’t plan it this way, but I think that’s why the story takes place during her private me-time.

Michael Noll

The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction was recently announced, and the winner was Benjamin Alire Sáenz. His selection was noteworthy because he is the first Latino to win the award, but he’s been nominated for other awards, so it’s not like he’s been pulled from obscurity. What I found surprising is that he’s published by Cinco Puntos, a small press in El Paso that publishes books primarily about the borderlands and the people who live there. Your book was also released by a small press and your stories have appeared in journals focusing on Texas/Latino/Southwest writers. Is it the case that Latino writers are struggling to break into the big, national presses? Or are small presses with thematic listings (regional, cultural, ethnic) simply doing a better job of discovering and promoting Latino writers? 

Rene S. Perez II

I can’t speak to big presses, breaking into them, struggling to do so. I know of the great work small presses are doing to discover and promote Latino writers. It is a great service to Latino literature. There are stories to be told—truths and lives worth documenting and representing. These small presses are doing pretty heavy lifting as far as Chicano Literature goes, because it’s pretty easy to look around and see that the big presses aren’t publishing too many Chicanos. There are many theories as to why these big presses are skewing toward Dominican and Cuban other such Latino books to publish. Most obviously, they are more traditionally present on the East Coast. I have to believe that with all of the migration of new-comers from Mexico all over the country, there will be new generations of Chicanos born and raised here, with their own stories to tell of their Mexican American existences as I have tried to do with my Texan upbringing. The aforementioned growing demographic that will soon be too big to ignore will only add to families like mine who have been here for generations, living and working for the same American dream, shaded the exact same red white and blue as anyone else’s, no part immigrant to speak of. Until the tide turns and this group that already makes up something like 60% of all American Latinos becomes more evident to those who make the big decisions for the big presses, I am glad to know that there are these small presses doing big work. Already they are reaping big rewards.

May 2013

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Michael Noll is the editor of Read to Write.

Using Dialogue to Create Conflict

14 May
Rene S. Perez in The Acentos Review

“Lost Days” by Rene S. Perez II first appeared in The Acentos Review and is included in his debut collection, Along These Highways, which won the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Prize and was published as part of the Camino del Sol series by the University of Arizona Press.

If you close your eyes and listen to people—your family or friends—you’ll discover that they don’t all talk the same. They use different diction, different cliches, and sentences of different lengths. Yet in fiction, we too often write dialogue as if everyone talks the same.

Not Rene S. Pérez II. In his story, “Lost Days,” he creates characters with distinctive speaking styles, and those style become the center of the conflict. The story is a great example of how character, when fully realized, can drive plot. “Lost Days” is included in Pérez’s collection, Along These Highways, and was first published in The Acentos Review, where you can read it now.

How the Story Works

Let’s take a look at a key paragraph from “Lost Days.” In it, you’ll see how Bobby talks differently than his mother and father and how the story comments on this style. Both are important in using character to create plot.

“I don’t mean to disparage the whole of Corpus as being ‘ghetto,’ because that connotes a certain socioeconomic status,” he said, trying to backpedal as delicately as he could out of a comment he’d made at the dinner table that offended Beto, her husband, his father. He had always spoken that way; Stanford didn’t do that to him. “It’s just that there’s a culture here which is such that one can’t be challenged or even stimulated intellectually. There’s no art, no progress toward it or high culture. It’s a city of… of… philistines.”

Bobby’s diction (disparage, connotes) and phrasing (which is such that) suggest not only that he is smart but that he’s trying to be smart, that he feels a need to prove his intelligence. His speaking pattern has a whiff of desperation, and so it’s no surprise that he ends up calling his hometown stupid and dull. In life, people generally say what they feel. It’s hard to maintain a true shellac over our inner selves. In fiction, you can use this tendency to create plot by having characters say what they think (in their unique voices) to the people most vulnerable to those opinions. Perez has established in one paragraph an entire family dynamic and conflict.

Perez turns this conflict into a narrative arc by focusing Bobby’s desperation on a single point: Starbucks. At first, he says, “I mean, this town doesn’t even have a Starbucks.” But later in the story, as his mom drives away from the town’s first Starbucks, he’ll say, “Starbucks is the Wal-Mart of coffee shops. I bet the opening was in the news and everything.”

In some ways, this is a story about that old saw, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” All it takes to make the story work is a few words from one character and a cup of coffee.

The Writing Exercise

This exercise is really more of a writing habit. The first part you may have heard before, but the second will likely be new to you.

  1. Begin writing down snippets of dialogue. The speakers can be anyone: people in line at the grocery store, customers at a coffee shop, drinkers at a bar, your kids or spouse or parents, your friends. Try to write down a few sentences verbatim. Don’t worry about capturing an entire conversation. The back-and-forth may sound amazing, but on paper, it will almost always last too long and wander from its point. It’s more important to capture the essence of how the person speaks.
  2. Try to impersonate those people. Say aloud what you have written as they said it. Imagine that you’re an actor on stage. You may find that in order to fully capture the voice, you must delete or add words or change their order. Remember: Dialogue needs to sound lifelike, not be lifelike. Once you’ve captured the person’s voice, write down the dialogue as you speak it. Add attributions (she said) or descriptions (she wiped her nose) to help provide the rhythm of the voice.

Have fun.

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