Usually, when I sit down to write a first-draft scene, the setting, action, and dialogue have already fermented and congealed into form so that I make the most of my time. But every now and then, even with that prep work, when I get it on the page, something’s off. It feels forced, or trite, or something not right, and I find myself stuck.
When that happens, there’s only one other thing (besides rethinking what the heck I’ve done) that gets me out of the ditch: losing the action, and feeling only the dialogue. Right Brain has mad skills when it comes to characters talking, and my favorite activity in the whole process is spewing out who says what in relation to my insanity the plot. Thusly, last night, I cranked out three scenes’ worth of straight dialogue–line by line with no action in between–without breaking much of a sweat. And in looking back over it all before quitting for the night, it was easier to see where the action belonged and how to make that action flow.
I’ve done this and hadn’t thought about it. The dialogue does just flow when I start to write it. I sometimes feel trapped in the present scene then and don’t know how to get characters to shut up and move on, into the plot and another location or time of day. But, I can see that writing just dialogue would start up the engine if I didn’t feel the plan was working.