I have always been fascinated by conversations. I love books and movies with great conversations. Especially Nigerian comedies, most have great and realistic ones. I also love watching cartoons, they have rich dialogues that will knock out many realistic blockbuster movies.
But ironically, some of the Hollywood and Nollywood hits are filled with bland conversations that make you want to punch the actors. Get the directors, and scriptwriters and beat them up. Because they think people watching the movies do not have brains so they can serve rubbish dialogues as long as the cinematography is great.
When I decided to start writing deliberately, I began to notice the dialogue style of most writers. I would read books and see lots of conversation markers. She objected. He interrupted. They screamed. We exclaimed. I moaned in anguish. He said angrily. She scolded. She screamed. He moaned. He cried. So I copied these writers. But I discovered my conversations were bland and unrealistic. I didn’t like that and I wanted to get better.
So last year, I read Blindness by Saramago Jose and was blown away. One of the many fascinating things about the book is Jose’s decision not to name any of his character. It’s a wonderful skill only few people can pull off. He also wrote the book without quotation marks and few conversation markers. Just excellent storytelling by a brilliant writer.
I don’t know if I will ever do a Jose, but it made me to rethink the dialogues in my writing. So I started writing snippets of conversations. Experimenting, mixing things up, failing, trying again, and failing again. I occasionally shared some of these conversations on Facebook and sometimes the feedback was encouraging. But I felt to get better, I should try longer forms, mix things up and try to tell stories with just dialogues. Hence The Conversation.
As I experiment and continue to get better, I hope these conversations are realistic and not just humorous. I hope they are recognizable, that sometimes as you read them you can imagine yourself saying them. You recognize your voice, a friend’s voice, or someone’s voice that you know.
I hope these conversations dish out lessons that will be difficult for me to reveal any other way but as you read them, you get a clear picture of the scene in your head. It might not work all the time, but hopefully, it works most of the time.
I also hope that in your everyday conversations — both written and oral — you learn the art of clarity and brevity. You learn to make your thoughts simple, easy to understand and to prevent assumptions. Because if we can do this, lots of conflicts will be avoided. Though world peace might be a bit elusive, but at least we can make the world a better place by having unique conversations, and by having dialogues in fiction that are life like.
PS: The Conversation returns next Thursday. You don’t want to miss it.
PS 2: You should always checkout previous posts. Your feedbacks are welcome.
Photocredits : Wallpapercraft.net