Uncle Morty seems to have a lot of times on his hands since he departed the land of the living, and he spends much of that time writing (especially when asked nicely). So, over the years he's figured out a few tips and tricks about writing along the way, and he'd like to share them with us!
By the way, your Uncle Morty can always use original material. The living around here are always pestering the dying nightlights out of him to work on their silly blog. As such, he has created a writing exercise. Feel free to share your results with us. We may publish them so your Uncle Morty can actually RIP once in a while. This exercise can be used with your own work too. Use it to enhance dialogue. (When you get to Step 2 you’ll see how that works.)
The point of this exercise is to fully envision a character, tone, vocabulary, speech idiosyncrasies, etc. Sometimes visualizing an actor reading your lines can really shake something loose for your dialogue.
For what it’s worth, here’s Morty’s exercise. Have fun!
Creative Writing Generative Exercise - Dialogue
Step 1: Take a minute to read through the following scenarios and choose one that you like.
Scenario 1: You come to consciousness in bright white and stainless steel room, lying on a table. You can’t move your arms or legs. A very tall person dressed in black leans over you and says, “We meet at last.”
Scenario 2: A very rich person tells his or her children that death is imminent…and that none of them is in the will.
Scenario 3: Someone explaining to an elementary school child that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are rubbish…or, conversely, and adult trying to preserve a child’s belief in Santa.
Scenario 4: You’ve always wanted to join a circus and become a clown. After three months in a clown troupe, the lead clown, Coco, explains why he has to let you go.
Scenario 5: You’re sitting on a mountainside with three goats, a bottle of brandy, your own great-great grandmother and a time machine, wondering “How do these things always happen to me.”
Scenario 6: A fairy flies out of your rose bush and asks you, not so politely, to cut it out with the chemical sprays.
Step 2: Choose one or two of your favorite actors, or very vivid personalities that you know, and let them read the lines as you write the dialogue. It could be Elvis. Donald Trump. Maria Bamford. Christopher Walken. Meryl Streep – although you’ll probably have to choose a role.
You can have both parts played by actors, or vivid personalities that you know, or you can imagine yourself as part of the dialogue with that person.
If you have time, you could rewrite a few lines with a different actor and see if that changes the outcome.