Dialogue

One of the most consistent themes of Bird by Bird is Lamott’s belief that writing is a reflection of life. The one inch frame and Polaroid pictures are just the vehicles life is being seen through, and when life starts talking, things get going. In order to write good dialogue that gets a story rolling along, Lamott encourages the reader to sound it out, say words aloud, and try to sound like their characters. Barring speaking alone in a den, she also says that a writer should constantly be listening to the dialogue of life around them. Think about what people out in public say, listen to it, and edit it for publication can help a writer get a feel for how to construct their own dialogue in their own story. Not only that, but by hearing a character talk, it makes the Polaroid develop all the quicker.

As the chapter nears its end, Lamott’s ideas become more involved in all the theoritsts discussed so far. Fulkerson’s expressivism is apparent through Lamott’s encouragements, giving writers instructions on how to better their process. Anson, Flower and Hayes all come into play as well. The breakdown of each step of the process follows the ideas of step-by-step problem solving expressed in “The Cognition of Discovery”. While Lamott’s methodology may not be as clear cut as Flower and Hayes “what is my assignment, how does this sound to the audience, how does this make me sound, what does the text say and what is the meaning” (pg. 163), each piece of their own process is found in Lamott’s themes. In so many words, Lamott tells her readers to ask themselves what they are doing, helps them sound better when they do it, and find the deeper purpose hidden within.

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