Last month I tried writing this post in the style most are writing it, pretty much straight prose. I did get some feedback about the change telling me my readers kind of liked me guessing how they would reply as if we were truly at a coffee shop somewhere. They did not mind the straight prose though either. I admit I like both ways myself. My conclusion is to switch back and forth between the two styles.
Your dialogue is in Maroon. Mine is in Navy.
I pull into the parking lot of the Sisters’ Diner realizing your vehicle is not here yet. I look down at my wrist to discover I forgot my watch. I am probably way too early.
Once inside, I pick our place to sit and order some tea for myself. You walk up behind me.
“Tea!? I thought you were a diehard fan of coffee!” You slip into the seat across from me and order your coffee.
“I still love coffee. It just doesn’t like me. At home, I’m not just drinking tea. I am drinking green tea, no less. How’s your writing going?”
The waitress returns with your coffee and my tea. After pouring hot water into my cup, I swish the tea bag around in it trying to hurry up the process.
“It’s going okay, I guess. My short stories are becoming flashes though. They tell you to be concise but when you do that, your work becomes so lean there’s hardly anything there to read.” You sip your coffee cautiously.
“Are you describing completely? I mean, concise doesn’t mean leaving anything out.”
You furrow your eyebrows and frown at me. “I know what concise means. I think what it is, is I have picked the wrong critique group. I chose it because most of the writers in it write for magazines but I didn’t bother finding out what genre they write in. Most of them are writing non-fiction like opinion articles and memoirs.”
“I would think they need to describe thoroughly too–that is unless they write articles for rags. From what I gather, with rags, the writer is at the mercy of the powers that be.
“I almost forgot. I have gone back to non-fiction, myself.” I take a sip of tea while I look eagerly for your response.
“Maybe you should be going to this critique group instead of me.”
“Maybe I will once I have written something worthwhile. I’ve been on a hunt for prompts. There’s some out there for non-fiction but it’s slim pickings in comparison to the ones for fiction.”
The waitress comes by bringing complimentary mini muffins with jelly and butter. We don’t hesitate to take two each.
After you have put some spread on one of your muffins, you give me a thoughtful look. “Maybe you need to look up high school and college helps. You may have better luck finding that sort of stuff.”
“I’ve already found a site like that. It’s more for instructors but it does have videos for students. It’s called Study.com.” I swallow a bite of muffin and take a swig of tea before continuing. “Actually, I don’t think I will need as many prompts with non-fiction as I have with fiction. After all, I don’t have to rely on my imagination. I just have to be creative in the way I present reality.” I give you a grin. “I even found a blog at WordPress.Com that is more for non-fiction than what else I’ve seen, Find Your Creative Muse.
Drinking your coffee, you give me a thoughtful look. “You might want to subscribe to some journalists’ blogs too.”
“That’s a good idea. I’ll check it out.”
We both have things that still need to be done by the end of the day so we gulp down the rest of our beverages and head out the door after paying the bill.
Where do you think I should look for prompts?
“But my way of writing is rather to think aloud, and follow my own humours, than much to consider who is listening to me; and, if I stop to consider what is proper to be said to this or that person, I shall soon come to doubt whether any part at all is proper.”
― Thomas de Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater