Writing 101- Week 2: Day 7 Give & Take

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Catching up with this past week of Blogging 101 after a week filled by work, gigs and book launches.

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Write a post based on the contrast between two things — whether people, objects, emotions, places, or something else.

Remember those “compare and contrast” essays in composition class, in which you’re forced to create a clunky juxtaposition of two arguments? Just because that particular form was a bore doesn’t mean that opposition has no place in your writing.

Bringing together two different things — from the abstract and the inanimate to the living and breathing — creates a natural source of tension, and conflict drives writing forward. It makes your reader want to continue to the next sentence, to the next page. So, focus on your two starkly different siblings, or your competing love for tacos and macarons, or whether thoughts are more powerful than words, or…you get the idea.

Today’s twist: write your post in the form of a dialogue. You can create a strong opposition between the two speakers — a lovers’ quarrel or a fierce political debate, for example. Or you could aim to highlight the difference in tone and style between the two different speakers — your call!

If you’d like more guidance, check out these ten tips on writing solid dialogue. In case you’re intimidated by dialogue tags — all those “he said,” “she whispered,” etc., here’s a useful overview.

Emulating people’s speech in written form takes practice, and creating two distinct voices could help you see (and hear) the different factors that play into the way we speak, from our diction and accent to our vocabulary and (creative?) use of grammar. (We’ll discuss the topic of voice more formally later in the course; for now, take a stab at writing dialogue on your own.)

 

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Deadlines vs Doing everything/anything else

“I am important. Crucial.” said Deadline.

“I know you are, but when you’re around everything else seems quite pressing and a lot more appealing.” said Everything Else.

“Charming!”

“Well it’s true, suddenly even the washing up seems like an exciting proposition.”

“But you still make room to do the right thing in the end.”

“Of course, you are not someone we want to ignore.”

“Well, you won’t gain anything if you do.”

“Tell me something I don’t know. You are able to make many forgotten emotions rise to the surface!”

“Like what?”

“Frustration mainly, although…” Everything Else hesitated.

“Yes?”

“I do find you exciting.”

“Exciting? Wow!” Deadline said smiling. “Do you think you’re the only one?”

“No I think you make a lot of people feel like that.”

“You will make me blush!”

“The time not to focus on you is when concentration is low, mistakes will happen. Like the time I tried to beat you just before a world cup match.”

“What happened?” asked Deadline.

“Well I won, unlike my Country.”

“So what was the problem?”

“I submitted the document without my personal details.”

“So you met me but messed up all the same?”

“Yes, unfortunately.”

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