For the past few days, I’ve been hard at work incorporating my editor’s suggestions into my second book, SKIPPING A BEAT. I’ve been pondering the plot and characters and yes, the dialogue. Since I’ve been trying to get my prose right, I thought it would be fun to use this space today to deliberately mess up. To write the worst dialogue I can dream up. To belly-flop with abandon.
I love dialogue that makes me laugh, and I particularly enjoy characters who know each other so well, and are so comfortable with one another, that their banter teeters on the line between insulting and affectionate. Marian Keyes, a fabulous Irish writer, is a master at this. In one of her books (I believe it’s Rachel’s Holiday, but I can’t find my copy to verify it), the main character is dropped off at a rehab facility by her father and snarky younger sister. “Weave me something nice, nutjob,” the sister says by way of good-bye. I think that line provides more insight into their relationship than ten pages of backstory.
Here are a few absolutely wretched lines I just dreamed up. And I’d love it if you’d chime in with an awful line or two of dialogue of your own in the comments section.
“Hello, ex-wife! How strange to see you here on my doorstep, when I was just stepping out for a jog in my new blue Nike sneakers!”
“Would I like to come with you around the corner to get a bite to eat? Why, yes, I would like to come with you around the corner to get a bite to eat.”
“Her eyes were the cerulean blue of an ocean at mid-day, and teardrops glistened in them like tiny diamonds. Which would hurt, had they actually been diamonds.”
I know you guys can do better (worse?). Have at it!