Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How Accurate Is the Dialog in Nonfiction? (Part 2 of 3)

When we write our stories (or read those of others), we have to ask "How accurate were those spoken words?"

Not very accurate is the easy answer.

Who of us remembers every word of a conversation that happened twenty years ago? or even last week? It's especially difficult when we hear something and only later—perhaps a decade passes—before we realize the significance of what someone said.

Most readers are smart enough to figure out that dialog isn't word-for-word accuracy; however, they assume the author strives to be as close to the truth as possible.

When I write others' autobiographies, I ask my clients to focus on their feelings and their emotional responses. How they felt is as important as the literal words.

* "How did you feel when you faced her?"

* "How did you respond when he yelled at you?"

* "Did it hurt your feelings when your father . . . ?"

* "How difficult was it for you to ask her to forgive you?"

My dialog in nonfiction may not be accurate, 
but I strive to be as truthful as possible.

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