Atmosphere & Dialogue

quotes

by Colleen Green, Wright Writer of Dayton member

To show how to create atmosphere with dialogue I’m using a section from my book, City in the Middle. One version is the rough draft and the other is the final version. This will demonstrate the importance of creating a mood with editing. Below in this example, without the atmosphere of the pub and details of the main character’s feelings, it is rigid and uninteresting.

Rough draft of dialogue:

“Miss, excuse me,” a lady called out. “We’re ready to order now.”

I turned around and stepped up to her table. “Yes, ma’am, what can I get you?”

I took their orders as an Irish lullaby played. On the way to put the orders into the computer, I felt someone tapping my shoulder.

“Amber.”

I turned around.

“I’m Charles,” he said. “Henry’s big brother. He pointed you out to me when you arrived.”

“It’s nice to meet you.”

“You too. Could you to do me a favor while I step out for a few minutes?”

“Sure.”

“You see that table in the back with the ‘reserved’ sign?”

I looked over and saw three men sitting there. “Yeah.”

“I need to follow my dad upstairs to his apartment, so I have to leave for a while. Please keep an eye on those guys and make sure they are taken care of.”

“Will do.”

Notice the lack of emotion. Not many details about Amber’s surroundings as she waits on tables, and there is not much insight on how she feels. Now let’s add some details using the feelings of the main character. 

From book final version:

“Miss, excuse me,” a lady called out. “We’re ready to order now.”

I turned around and stepped up to her table. “Yes, ma’am, what can I get you?”

I took their orders as an Irish lullaby played. The violin combined with the flute to create a serene sound. On the way to put the orders into the computer, I paused near the stage, enchanted by the music.

Fiona leaned into each movement of the bow. She appeared to be living in the moment, becoming one with the music. For a few seconds, so did I.

I felt someone tapping my shoulder. “Amber.”

I turned around and saw a man who looked like an older version of Henry.

“I’m Charles,” he said. “Henry’s big brother. He pointed you out to me when you arrived.”

“It’s nice to meet you.”

“You too.” He smiled like his brother, with a quirky grin. “Could you do me a favor while I step out for a few minutes?”

“Sure.” I was surprised he was asking a newbie but kind of flattered that Henry must have told him enough positive things about me that he could feel comfortable enough to ask for favors.

“You see that table in the back with the ‘reserved’ sign?”

I looked over and saw three men sitting there. “Yeah.” One of them, a Hispanic man, had an unusual cane with an eagle head for the handle propped up on his chair.

“I need to follow my dad upstairs to his apartment, so I have to leave for a while. Please keep an eye on those guys and make sure they are taken care of.”

“Will do.”

Did you catch the parts that were added showing Amber’s feelings and what the characters were doing within the conversation? Did you notice the body language and description of the character’s appearance? They are in bold above. Pacing dialogue is tricky, but it can be done. Read it out loud after you write it to make sure it flows naturally.

This information came from author Colleen Green. She has created a series of videos on the Wright Writers of Dayton Facebook page called Colleen’s Corner: Advice for Writers. You can click the link below to go to their page. Videos are pinned at the top of their posts on their page. Also, you can view all their videos under the video section on their Facebook page. 

 

Click link below to the Wright Writers of Dayton Facebook page:
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Click the link below to go to author Colleen Green’s website:
www.colleengreen.info

Writing Tips

Colleen’s Corner:
Advice for Writers

colleen green bio pictureWright Writers of Dayton is a group from Dayton, Ohio. Author Colleen Green, their marketing director is doing live videos on different aspects of writing. These short episodes will feature different aspects of storytelling. The latest one can be found on their Facebook page under the pinned post at the top. Colleen’s first video talks about plot & character development. She plans to do a different topic on Tuesdays at 7 pm eastern standard time. The videos will be called Colleen’s Corner: Advice for Writers. You can view the pinned post and videos on their page anytime and comment on them anytime. During the live video comment “hi”, and she’ll give you a shout out. Click the link at the bottom of this post to see the Wright Writers of Dayton Facebook page.

www.facebook.com/wrightwriters

April 2020 Newsletter

Editor: Colleen Green
Contact: colleen_grn@yahoo.com

Book of the Month
Mastering Plot Twists:

How to Use Suspense, Targeted
Storytelling Strategies,
and Structure to Captivate
Your Readers

mastering plot twists

 Available on Amazon

Words of the Month

“Epidemic” vs. “Pandemic”: What Do These Terms Mean?

What is an epidemic?

An epidemic disease is one “affecting many persons at the same time, and spreading from person to person in a locality where the disease is not permanently prevalent.” The World Health Organization (WHO) further specifies epidemic as occurring at the level of a region or community.

Epidemic is commonly used all on its own as a noun, meaning “a temporary prevalence of a disease.” For example: The city was able to stop the flu epidemic before it spread across the state.

Metaphorically, epidemic is “a rapid spread or increase in the occurrence of something,” usually with a negative or humorous connotation: An epidemic of gentrification was affecting low-income communities or The hipster look gave way to an epidemic of 1990s fashion.

What is a pandemic?

Compared to an epidemic disease, a pandemic disease is an epidemic that has spread over a large area, that is, it’s “prevalent throughout an entire country, continent, or the whole world.”

Pandemic is also used as a noun, meaning “a pandemic disease.” The WHO more specifically defines a pandemic as “a worldwide spread of a new disease.” On March 11, the WHO officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic due to the global spread and severity of the disease.

While pandemic can be used for a disease that has spread across an entire country or other large landmass, the word is generally reserved for diseases that have spread across continents or the entire world. For instance: After documenting cases in all continents except Antarctica, scientists declared the disease a pandemic.

As an adjective, pandemic can also mean “general” and “universal,” also often with a negative connotation. However, pandemic appears to be most commonly used in the context of epidemiology, which is concerned with infectious diseases.

How to use epidemic vs. pandemic

… think of an epidemic as the start of something—whether a disease or a trend—spreading rapidly within a community or region, whereas a pandemic is what an epidemic becomes once it reaches a far wider swath of people, especially across continents or the entire world.

If something is spreading like wildfire, it’s an epidemic. If something has already spread like wildfire and is currently massive in its reach and impact, it’s a pandemic.

And for good measure … here’s another example of each in a sentence.

  • The city had to close schools to contain a measles epidemic.
  • Although it isn’t exactly known where the disease first originated, the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic is estimated to have affected one-third of people across the entire globe.

Your mind is like a garden. Your
thoughts are the seeds.
You can grow flowers
or you can grow weeds.

Source: The Farmers’ Almanac

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