It has been 2 1/2 months, more or less, since I last added a book to my virtual shelf. Not because I haven’t read anything, but because I keep starting new books and not finishing any of those I had already been reading. But, as part of my new, improved, more organized, Back-In-The-Saddle routine, I decided not to start any more new projects or books until I have completed those in progress. When it came to reading, then, I picked up my most-nearly-read book and… well… turned over a new leaf.
Noble, William. “SHUT UP!” He Explained: A Writer’s Guide to the Uses and Misuses of Dialogue, Paul S. Ericsson, Middlebury, Vermont, 1987 (more recent editions are also available). In Part A, Noble teaches how dialogue can develop character, establish setting and move your story forward. He backs up each principle by analyzing specific examples from published works, often showing how the same passage would “fall flat” if the writer overlooked the principle. Part B zooms in for more detailed examples, more subtle ways in which dialogue can add power to a narrative. Noble includes helpful advice specific to short stories, novels and non-fiction. He cannot of course cover every contingency. But I plan to keep this book handy for reference because, as Noble himself says, “…the bases are covered, and what is there will serve the writer well” (84).
Thanks for reading,