Fuckin Friday

Fuckin’ Friday Prompt #37

For this week’s prompt, I’m going back to an oldie for two reasons:

1 – So I can shamelessly push my upcoming prompt book, “F’n Prompts”.

2 – To lecture you on listening.

Let’s start off with the actual prompt this time:

“That house full of some wrong-ass motherfuckers.”

Okay. There it is. It’s an opener that you could maybe use as a dialogue exercise or even a descriptor or characterization about the wrong-ass motherfuckers living in that particular domicile. But we’re going to focus on the dialogue side of things for my intention here.

There’s a woman at work who always says such crazy things. My more rabid fans may remember that I posted about her recently. Shit she’s said have ended up in my prompts many times. In fact, dozens of my prompts, maybe even hundreds, are of things I’ve heard around work and bus stops. I always try to keep my ears open for something interesting.

You get a lot of free, unwanted writing advice on the internet, but one that’s always rung true to me is that a great writer has to be a great listener. You should always have your ears pricked up for things like this so your dialogue and first person narration can seem genuine to the type of character you’re protraying.

Your story is garbage if the dialogue is poor and unnatural. You want your reader to believe your characters are real and not some cut-outs you didn’t pour any soul into. I say it all the time; nothing takes me out of a work faster than bad dialogue.

So don’t just listen for one-liners or whacky shit, but also pay attention to the way people talk. Listen for patterns and idiosyncrasies that’ll make your characters seem like someone a reader can actually walk into on the street. It’s a tough line to walk, especially when exposition is needed, but your writing will will be richer for your efforts.

Now go out there and be the best eavesdropper you can be!

Don’t forget to send in any works created with this week’s prompt for a chance to be featured. Also, if you’d like to write something on the act of writing itself, we’re looking for that as well.

Follow Million and One as well as my own Twitter, @FuckinPrompts, for news on my upcoming prompt book.

See you around the transit center! I’ll be listening intently.

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