Sunday, August 29, 2010

Book #96: "Shut Up!" He Explained

Title: "Shut Up!" He Explained: A Writer's Guide to the Uses and Misuses of Dialogue
Author: William Noble

I read "Shut Up" He Explained in preparation for the Young Adult Novel workshop I'm taking this fall as part of my MFA in Creative Writing program at BYU (didn't know I was doing that? Well, I am, I guess, but I'm not sure yet how I'm going to balance it all). Anyway, part of the course requirements is to write a young adult novel. I know, I can hardly believe it either-- in three and a half months I'll have a novel written. I'm not sure that it will be a good novel, but hey, I'm a beginner. I had to submit part of a draft earlier this spring and said during a conference that one of the things I was struggling with the most was writing dialogue, so my professor, Chris Crowe, suggested that I read this book.

Although the book is old (published in 1987) and likely out of print, it did have great advice for a beginner like me about writing dialogue. Noble talks about when to use dialogue (for character development, to move along the plot, etc...) and also how to use dialogue effectively (when to use "he said," for example, instead of "he exclaimed," and allowing the words the character speaks to establish tone and stuff like that). It's a pretty short book, and well-organized enough that I feel like I can use it as a resource to return to when I'm in the nitty-gritty of writing and need a place to turn to help me use dialogue to foreshadow, or how to incorporate dialect into my dialogue.

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