Dialogues versus Descriptions

Continuing our discussion over the art of writing (and by discussion, I mean rant), I would like to talk to you today about the importance of choosing the style. Two people with the same educational background may have two very distinct ways of talking. And thus, two very distinct ways of writing. Ruskin Bond would say it in a way that you’d remember childhood and paperboats while Salman Rushdie will say it in a way that you’d feel like you’ve been told something new and prophetic. It may just be the same words with different arrangements.

Style is something one should develop because it makes the task of saying things easier. Once you get the hang of what your favourite or go-to words are and what is the tense in which you are most comfortable writing, you can focus on the story while following the basic style of yours. Now that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t experiment but, yes, it is good to have a distinct voice. Like if I pick up an Arundhati Roy novel (There is only one at the moment. Fingers crossed for the second one), I know what to expect. I know that there will be sadness, childhood, tragedy and humour. Those elements are her own now. I can’t think of sassy gossip when I think of her and that way, it is easier for me to pick her.

I ranted to much. I am yet to get to the point of this piece. What I wanted to say was that there are two styles of telling the story. One way is dialogue and the second one is descriptions. It is the era of screenwriting and short films so, if you plan to pitch the story to a filmmaker, it is good to have a lot of dialogue in your story. Because as such, there is nothing wrong with long descriptions. They can be much more captivating even. But yes, dialogues are powerful and they have a place of their own especially when describing emotions.

He said, ‘Get away from me!’ is always going to be more visual than saying He was disgusted by her. Nothing like right or wrong here. You may want to speed through a certain part of the narrative and at those times, descriptions are great. You can shine the light at particular things and move ahead. While in dialogue-writing, you have to take care of every character in the scene.

Choose wisely.





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