Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Beneath the Iceberg: Story

"Conversations are like icebergs--only the very tops are visible. Most of their weight, their mass, their meanings are under the surface. Make your readers feel the tension between what is above and what's below, and you'll have a story." --Jerry Stern

Dipping into conversations this week to search for what lies beneath. Chipping away at dialogue icebergs to uncover tension. Digging deeper in the ocean of words to discover more story below the surface. How about you?

photo: sxc.hu


  1. Good post topic!

    In my opinion, dialog is one of the most difficult things to write. You have to make it sound real, and yet each character has to sound a little bit different from the others. At the same time, you're trying to move the story forward. It's a lot to ask from what may be only a few words!

  2. What a great angle to ponder! The iceberg image makes the point so much clearer.


  3. I think Peggy's comment is right on point. Dialogue is something I enjoy but do wrestle with a lot. This analogy to the iceberg is excellent!

  4. Very true. And much of the communication is unsaid or unwritten. Facial expressions, action, responses, and mood say so much.

  5. Thanks, all, for stopping by--appreciate your comments :-) Funny, but I was watching a rerun of The Fugitive tonight on tv and found myself keyed in to the movie's dialogue with a more critical approach, after posting this. Picking up pointers, I guess. And Stephen, your comment must have been on my mind because I was more aware of facial expressions and moods, and the unsaid communication along with them. Thanks for the insight--and for the new follow, too!