Writing and Shit – part 28 – Non-stories, the Eiffel Tower and North Korea

Here is a non-story. A waiter works in the café at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Every smoking break, he goes and looks at the view. Afterwards, he goes back inside the café and continues serving customers. Here is a story. An old Korean woman who lives in North Korea has a […]

Writing and Shit – part 27 – Come on, that’s just not realistic

BUT THAT JUST WOULDN’T HAPPEN – IT’S NOT AT ALL REALISTIC Oh dear. It’s like Mr But has taken over the section titles. He’s making a bid for total power. Mr But has more to say. I’m going to let him speak for as long as he wants: You’re taking examples from Hollywood movies – […]

Writing and Shit – part 25 – Hip-speak and and stuttering

Pushing further away from expositional dialogue, we come to what I call ‘hip’ dialogue. Hip-speech is a version of slang, similar to criminal slang – it is a way of communicating without fear of being overheard and understood. The jazz musician Lester Young came up with or popularized a lot of hip language – language […]

Writing and Shit – part 24 – What the hell is exposition?

Writers are usually much better at spotting, and mocking, exposition in the work of other writers. In their own work, sections of disguised address to the reader (a.k.a. info-dump) are simply jobs that have to be done, one way or the other. It is a truth of writing that sometimes the ugly way is the […]

Writing and Shit – part 23 – How to Write Really Bad Dialogue

Now that you’ve had a go at the three models of dialogue, you may be thinking I have horribly oversimplified the complexity of how people talk to one another. Good. Now it’s time to think about how to do better. Mr But: And you said you were going to mention other possible models of dialogue. […]

Writing and Shit – part 21 – Hiding Dialogue

HIDING DIALOGUE The English playwright Harold Pinter was famous for his dialogue. This is what he had to say about the reaction to his work: We have heard many times that tired, grimy phrase: ‘Failure of communication’… and this phrase has been fixed to my work quite consistently. I believe the contrary. I think that […]