Randy Ingermanson on “naked dialogue” ~ brilliant

Flocon D'été .... Summer Snow Flake

Flocon D’été …. Summer Snow Flake (Photo credit: gmayster01 on & off …)

This brilliant article is from the “Advanced Fiction Writing E-Zine” of Randy Ingermanson and guess what? He allows to post them so of course I follow his advice and post the blurb as well 🙂

This article is reprinted by permission of the author.

Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the
Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced
Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 32,000 readers.
If you want to learn the craft and marketing of
fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to
editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit

Download your free Special Report on Tiger Marketing
and get a free 5-Day Course in How To Publish a Novel.


Craft: Naked Dialogue

“What’s naked dialogue?”

“It’s dialogue without any action, description,
interior monologue, or interior emotion.”

“Can you do that?”

“In short stretches.”

“Why would you do that? It sounds stupid.”

“If the main conflict is in the dialogue, then adding
anything else takes the edge off the conflict.”

“I don’t believe that could work. Give me three
examples where you’d use it.”

“Courtroom scenes. Interrogations. Um … can’t think of
a third example.”

“Maybe a Socratic dialogue?”

“Oh, right.”

“So you can actually make this work without even one tag
to tell me who’s talking?”

“If it works, it works.”

“What if it doesn’t work?”

“Then add in the minimum amount of other stuff
necessary to make it work.”

“I suppose you’d call that bikini dialogue then?”

“You’re stretching the metaphor too far.”

“And you somehow imagine this kind of dialogue works?”

“I know it.”

“Could you do a whole scene that way?”

Orson Scott Card did several scenes that way in

“How did the reader know who was talking?”

“Readers are smart.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. Don’t readers have to see at
least one tag so they know the names of the speakers?”

“Not unless they need to know the names.”

“But you’d have to limit it to two people, right? You
couldn’t possibly do this with three people, could you?”

“Hey guys! Whatcha talking about so violent-like over
in the corner? Gretchen, are you practicing your
interrogation skills on poor Grendel?”

“Get lost, Goober. I’m just trying to get the bare

“Whoa, whoa, whoa! I get the message. I’m not wanted,
so I’m outta here. Give her heck, Grendel.”

“So what was your question again? Something about three

“Never mind, I figured it out.”

“Any more questions?”

“Well, naked dialogue sounds difficult. Is it worth it?”

“You have to decide that after it’s all written. You
can always throw the scene away if you don’t like it.”

“Have you ever tried it? In your own scene?”

“Just once.”


“Just now.”

“Oh, man, are you going meta on me? Mixing planes of
existential reality again? You are so weird!”

“Admit it, Gretchen, you love me.”

“That’s it. We’re finished and I’m leaving.”

“It ain’t over till I say it’s over.”

“You can’t keep me here against my–”

“It’s over.”




Are your stories like your children?

A few days ago I wrote about the fact that I have decided to stay with the shorter forms of writing eg poetry and short stories and of course my blogs. I said “good bye” to Zara as a project but she somehow does not leave me. It feels like a child I have nurtured ….

20 years is a long time to think about a story.

I wish I could decide on one route of writing and then stick to it!


R.I.P Zara

Have been thinking about my life and where I want to go with it this morning while I went to the allotment. Walking processes a lot and nature has always been kind of clearing my mind.

Writing is important and I love it but I think my Zara project has to come to an end. Why?

20 years and I haven’t gone anywhere with it. Yes I know you should never give up on your dreams but to be honest:

I love writing poetry!

I love blogging!

I like writing a novel!

There you go the short forms are what I enjoyed mainly and I think I am good with them. Well, of course I have to improve in many areas but that is the challenge and the fun of it. The day I give up improving will be a sad day and I will be old.

And you know what?

As soon as I decided on giving Zara up I felt so much better. Maybe I was meant to write a “Lord of the Rings“~style fantasy novel with mainly female characters but it was always somehow guilt-ridden. I always had to push myself to do it while all the other projects come much more naturally. Well, then let her go and enjoy the rest :-).

Free resources for writers to be #amwriting


I set up a page where I keep some links for free resources for the writer to be. Today I thought I might post them as well as they might help one or the other of you. It’s not an awful lot but some might be interesting.

So here they are! Have fun:


Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method            He explains his way of writing a novel, you can get free newsletter about advanced fiction writing and a free email-course about “how to publish a book”

Open University, Open Learn, Start writing fiction A free introduction by the Open University on writing fiction

BBC Archives ~ Interviews mit 20th Century writers brilliant page with Interviews as early as the 1930′s

BBC Writersroom Tips on writing and the possibility to send in unsolicited scripts for films, shows ect

Writing fiction on about.com everything from finding a space to write to how to get published

Writers Digest We all know that one I suppose

MITOpencourseware What the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has to offer for writers

DiplomaGuide.com A list of courses for free for aspiring writers and poets

more characters

Today I wanted to work quite a lot on my courses but something was holding me back. I was really reluctant to work on the given tasks but urged myself to do them anyway. I thought I could go back to the tasks and refine them later as long as I started and do something.

So I started the part with the setting on the Openlearn “Start writing fiction“. Nothing special there just the rule that setting + character = story. Well sounds somehow logic but if you try to put that into practise it is not that easy anymore.

Had an appointment at our surgery today and I used the waiting time to jot down as much as I could about how the waiting room looked like, what I heard, felt, saw, smelled ect. I think that is a good exercise to start becoming more aware of my surroundings as well as finding expressions to describe the setting. I really liked that and the waiting time was much too short for some strange reason :-).

In the evening I got myself back into working mode and made a list of characters for the Zara~story as well as a file for each of them with a list what I need to know about them:

The character’s name

  • A one-sentence summary of the character’s storyline

  • The character’s motivation (what does he/she want abstractly?)

  • The character’s goal (what does he/she want concretely?)

  • The character’s conflict (what prevents him/her from reaching this goal?)

  • The character’s epiphany (what will he/she learn, how will he/she change?

  • A one-paragraph summary of the character’s storyline

Taken from the Snowflake Method Step 3

Name? Age? Place of birth?

Residence? Occupation? Appearance? Dress? Strengths? Weakness?

Obsessions? Ambition? Work habits? Hobbies? Illness? Family? Parents?

Kids? Siblings? Friends? Pets? Politics? Tics? Diet? Drugs? Favorite kinds

of coffee, cigarettes, alcohol? Erotic history? Favorite books, movies,

music? Desires? Fears? Most traumatic event? Most wonderful

experience? The major struggle, past and present?

Physical/biological: age, height, size, state of health, assets, flaws, sexuality, gait, voice.

  • Pyschological: intelligence, temperament, happiness/unhappiness, attitudes, self-knowledge, unconscious aspects.
  • Interpersonal/cultural: family, friends, colleagues, birthplace, education, hobbies, beliefs, values, lifestyle.

Personal history: major events in the life, including the best and the most traumatic.

Taken from Openlearn Course “Start writing fiction

Well of course there are things that I do not need to know about them as it is a fantasy story but this is the general list that I made myself to create characters. I think that is quite handy 🙂

I only did Zara so far. But my next steps are outlined now as I will work on one character per day unless I get a fit of work mania. Well not very likely…..