In the midst of plotting, pondering, and (alternate?) world building, actual!writing, albeit within the confines of the mind, marches forth on this March Fourth.
Pun quite intended.
Amid the scene setting and character building is crafting the dialogue between the characters (spoken or implied) from which the narrative unfolds. It’s still an aspect of the writing process with which I struggle, to ensure it sounds believable and true to the time frame in which it is spoken (though given the recent developments, the parallel / alternate universe angle might render the historical accuracy of the cadence a moot point. Then again, how characters speak and what they say (or what is implied) need not be entirely accurate – it’s how the characters (and the readers) interpret the words and the meaning behind the words (if applicable). These days, words (spoken or written) are important, and the implications behind them can be interpreted differently depending on the perspective of those receiving it.
Truth within and behind the words should be absolute and clear, but in some instances, the truth can be subjective and ambiguous in order to lead (or mislead) the protagonist (and perhaps the reader) into believing one interpretation to be true when the antithesis is the true truth (if that makes any sense). Misdirection and red herrings are the foundation of twisty plot twists, and the source of the information provided to the characters (and by extension) to the readers is key, especially with a story told in first person perspective. The narrator essentially controls the pace and tone of the narrative, supplying the lens from which the plot unfolds; with third person perspective (limited or omniscient), the control is more abstract and broad, as a more detached, objective vantage point established.
The content and context of dialogue is also paramount in the telling of the story and the shaping of its characters – words (and actions) tend to be taken out of context and its content skewed in a way that leads to consequences unforeseen, resulting in (hopefully) a dramatic climax or a startling resolution. Well-crafted dialogue has the potential to entice and captivate, with the intention of conveying a interesting and intriguing story. The meaning of the message and the rationale behind it can change depending on its speaker, to whom they are spoken and who hears it – bias and perspective can change the intent of the words spoken. Choosing what to say, how to say it, when and where to say it, to whom to say it to, and why to say it is as important to any story as the exposition and world building.
Words matter more than ever.