Switch Character POV to Write Better Dialogue

This post by Ksenia Anske originally appeared on her site on 6/4/14. Note that this post contains strong language.

I’m reading Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky right now, and it’s taking me a sweet sweet time. Because. I’m trying something new. Don’t ask me where I picked up this idea, I actually don’t remember. I started doing it at the end of writing the 2nd draft of IRKADURA (and today is the day I’m starting to write the 3rd draft! Ahhh!! AHHH!!! I’m so fucking scared!!!). Here is what it looks like (and it actually legitimately helped me write better dialogue, I swear, has been confirmed by a NY Times Bestselling author). Are you ready? When I read, at every line of dialogue, I pause and get inside that character’s head, THEN I read the line. Like, literally, remember the movie Being John Malkovich? Yeah, like that. Or, think of it this way. Think like a movie director. Imagine the shots. So, switch between camera angles. Rotate the whole scene in your head in 3D. That’s what it looks like to me. I become that character, for that one particular line of dialogue she or he (or IT?) says. Then, when the other character answers, I switch again. I get out of the first character’s head and get inside the second character’s head. It’s hard. It takes me time to pause and force myself to do it, and to switch the scene view in my mind. I also do something else. If there are more characters, I pause and hop inside their heads too, just to see what they see, even if they don’t do anything. It takes forever! But it’s worth the effort! Here is why.

It totally will. You will see what is going on in real time, pick up real emotions your characters are experiencing, pick up nuances you haven’t seen.


Click here to read the full post on Ksenia Anske’s site.