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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/newsletters/action/archives/id/8524
Drama: September 27, 2017 Issue [#8524]

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Drama


 This week: On Dialogue and Action
  Edited by: Kittiara
                             More Newsletters By This Editor  

Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

Body language, facial expressions... they can add an important layer of imagery to your dialogue.

This week's Drama Newsletter, then, is all about dialogue, and how to improve it.

Kittiara


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Letter from the editor

If you’re anything like me, you sometimes find yourself struggling mixing up dialogue with body language and facial expressions. This is a problem, because it’s just not very nice reading a piece that goes, “he said”, “she said” all the time. Body language and facial expressions can convey a lot of emotion. They add an interesting and important layer of imagery to a story. It helps, then, to use it. But how?

Take, for example, a scene between a male and a female character. They’re in the kitchen. The female character has something to tell the male character.

“I... I received a phone call this morning. It was my dad.”

“Is everything okay?”

“There was an accident. Mom was on her way back from the shop and some guy... his car hit her.”

“Oh no! Amelia, I’m so sorry to hear that. Your mom, is she-“

“She’s alive. But I need to go over to see her.”

“Yes, yes, of course. Do you want me to come with you? How long do you think you’ll be staying?”

“No, that’s okay. I mean, you have your big project. You can’t just leave that. I understand... but I may be a while. Dad may need me to help out when Mom gets home.”

“So I’m not going to see you? For weeks?”

“I’m sorry, David. I have to do this.”


Now, as said, I am not an expert on using body language and facial expressions, but there’s a lot missing from this scene. Let’s fill it in a little:


Amelia lifted her gaze to meet David’s. Her face was pale, and the skin around her eyes was swollen and red. “I... I received a phone call this morning. It was my dad.”

“Is everything okay?” David took a step closer, but something in her stance warned him off.

“There was an accident. Mom was on her way back from the shop and some guy... his car hit her.”

“Oh no! Amelia, I’m so sorry to hear that.” He closed the gap between them, ignoring the tension in her body. Holding her close, he asked the question he dreaded the answer to: “Your mom, is she-“

“She’s alive. But I need to go over to see her.”

“Yes, yes, of course.” Pulling back slightly, he cupped her cheek in his hand. “Do you want me to come with you? How long do you think you’ll be staying?”

“No, that’s okay. I mean,” she added quickly, “you have your big project. You can’t just leave that. I understand... but,” Amelia looked at his shirt, rather than at him, “I may be a while. Dad may need me to help out when Mom gets home.”

“So I’m not going to see you?” He couldn’t keep the disappointment out of his voice. “For weeks?”

“I’m sorry, David. I have to do this.” With that, she gently removed herself from his arms, and headed towards the doorway.


I know, I know, it can do with a lot of work. It changes things, though, doesn’t it? There’s tension between the two characters. Something’s not right in their relationship. There is more going on than Amelia needing to help her father. It’s a lot easier to deduce that when you wrap bits of action around the dialogue. Little hints of body language.

Like me, you may not be the best at reading body language and facial expressions in the first place. That makes it difficult to offer clues to your readers that you hope that they’ll pick up on. As with anything, it takes practice – something I clearly need a lot of.

Watching theatre plays can be helpful here – actions and expressions can be somewhat exaggerated to get the message across. You may have to tone it down a little in your story, but it can offer a foundation. Movies and television shows can be helpful, too - I want to give a special nod here to the old, silent movies - as well as observing those around you.

It can be fun and interesting to do some people watching, when you’re out and about. Sometimes I make up little stories in my mind – the lady rushing along the sidewalk with her phone pressed against her ear may be an important lawyer heading for court, having just heard that the jury has reached its verdict. The gentleman sitting on a bench in the park, holding a wrapped sandwich in his hands, once thought that his life was boring. Now that he’s discovered a terrible secret at his company, he doesn’t want to unwrap that sandwich. It’s his one remaining connection to the comfort of normality.

Don’t stare, of course. People get nervous when you stare at them. But you can still observe, and learn. You never know when inspiration strikes.

Good luck! *Smile*

Kittiara



Editor's Picks

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Kit'z Higher Ratings Contest  (18+)
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#887621 by Kittiara


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The Dialogue 500  (18+)
Dialogues of 500 words or less.
#941862 by W.D.Wilcox


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The Pink Fluffy Unicorn Contest  (E)
The greatest writing challenge on WDC! PINK FLUFFY RESULTS NOW OUT!!! :)
#2113126 by Robert Edward Baker


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What Have You Learned On Writing.Com?  (13+)
A contest to show off your new skills. For Writing.Com's Birthday Week.
#2093196 by Kittiara


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Zodiac Contest/CONTEST CLOSED  (18+)
Create a character using personality traits from a Zodiac sign.
#2115893 by GeminiGem🐒


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The PET NEWS CONTEST  (E)
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#1986337 by GeminiGem🐒


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Write from the Heart - Poetry (CLOSED)  (E)
Write a heartfelt poem based on the prompt and form provided.
#2093224 by Lilli ☕

 
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The Drama Newsletter Team welcomes any and all questions, suggestions, thoughts and feedback, so please don't hesitate to write in! *Smile*

Wishing you a week filled with inspiration,

The Drama Newsletter Team.



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