At the moment, I am taking a class on dialogue in fiction with the online Odyssey workshop (this one).
Oh my goodness, just when I thought I knew what all I wasn’t doing right! This class is showing me a whole other world to writing, one I pretty much knew nothing about. (sad sigh)
In one sense, it is very disheartening to know that with as many books as I’ve read on the topic of fiction writing, I haven’t read them all and the gaps in my knowledge were readily apparent about 10 minutes into our first class.
But at the same time, I’m jazzed about learning how dialogue should be used in fiction, and how I can edit my current and future writing so that they read way better.
And I’m glad I recognized the need to take a class like this, because otherwise, I’d still be fumbling around in the dark.
The other day, my instructor, the wonderful Jeanne Cavelos, mentioned that I should deconstruct The Road by Cormac McCarthy – as an extracurricular activity. She said I would learn a ton with such an exercise. And, of course, the first thought I had after I picked my jaw off the keyboard was that I should share it here.
Lucky you, right? (Come on, you know you like reading about writing just as much as I do, Writer-Geek.)
So, every other Wednesday or so, I’ll go through a chapter of The Road. I’ll give you plenty of warning so that you can read along if you’d like. Be forewarned, the book is decidedly on the depressing side, but it did win a Pulitzer. Even if you hate the story, you have to admire the quality and skill. His writing style is spare, almost skeletal, and Mr. McCarthy eschews punctuation like the plague (pun intended, though nuclear fallout is humanity’s downfall in this book). As a result, every single word in this short read is there for a reason.
Let’s find out why together.