But one thing keeps striking me as I watch--and anybody who has seen it will know what I'm talking about. The dialogue vs. adult Kevin's narration throughout the episodes. You know exactly what Kevin is thinking as he interacts with teachers, friends, Winnie Cooper, because his adult self gives narration the entire time. And I can't help thinking it really is like watching a novel!
Here's an example:
It's one thing to have great dialogue in our writing, but it's another to have the interiority to go along with it. Interiority, dialogue tags, thoughts, whatever you want to call it. And it's important to know where to place a character's thoughts and where to let the dialogue alone do the work. Having the right interiority is also a great way to add "voice" to your writing as well, and let readers know who your character is.
Random thought: It's funny, if you were to take out the background narration in The Wonder Years, the characters in the show do a lot of standing around, staring at each other without adult Kevin talking!
At the LA SCBWI conference this past August, Deborah Halverson talked about the importance of using your dialogue tags to develop character. She said that strong dialogue is inseparable from the narrative that surrounds it. To take out common words like look, stare, or gaze; turn to, smile, laugh, frown, grin, feel, brushing hair out of eyes. She said there is nothing revealing about these--that it's important to use the action in dialogue tags to reveal more about the character.
So tough to do, too, because I know I have my characters smile and frown and look at things! But she said to use things that illuminate their personalities with the actions they do. It's really made me think a lot about what a specific character would do, or how that person would act!
Do you find you have a hard time tagging dialogue or adding interiority at times? I'd love to hear your thoughts!