Lesson 11 ‘Writing Dialogue, Friday’s with James Patterson’s Masterclass
“All of your key interchanges with your characters, I mean, they gonna be good, bad or indifferent just because of the dialogue. And how they talk to each other it is gonna reveal who they are. Who’s smarter, who’s taking advantage of who? Who’s lying? Who’s telling the truth? Who’s in charge? And who’s really in charge”. ~James Patterson
Mr. Patterson used Lush Life by Richard Price, his example of what great dialogue can sound like. I have that book. I need to sit down with it, read and learn, pull the dialogue apart , examine its details. And figure out its ‘hows and whys’ . This is definitely the type of dialogue that I would love to write.
Here are a few lines from, page 6 of Lush Life.
“What do we got…”
“Two males in the front.”
“What do we got…”
“Neon trim on the plate.”
“Right rear taillight.”
“Front passenger just stuffed something under the seat.”
No dialogue tags. Just fast paced dialogue. Short, tight writing. It moves along. In just these seven lines I can feel and see the movement as the cops check out the car they stopped. I felt like I walked around that car.
My thoughts on this: check out your favorite authors and see how they write their dialogue. Read it out loud. Get the feel for it. Then ask yourself if you learned anything new about that character from their dialogue. Where did the author take you in this dialogue?
James Patterson doesn’t write realism. His dialogue is heightened – but it feels real. Without being ‘literally’ real dialogue. Because real dialogue is boring…
Listen to how people speak when you are in the store, at work, on the bus.
This class has a comments section, where you can post your lesson and a video critique by James on his office hour’s page where he will answer questions.
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