“You had me at hello”
Where would we be without “You had me at hello” or “You can’t handle the truth”? I find one of the most important and memorable aspects of telling a story is dialogue. We use it everyday, we use it to communicate and express ourselves, so why should it be any different when writing it?
In “My Little Brother On Drugs” by Jenny Everett , dialogue is used to communicate with the readers. Everett infuses dialogue, description and science to re-tell her experience of her 9-year-old brother taking prescribed growth hormones.
“…Keep the skin dimpled, otherwise all the medicine wont go in me. When you take out the needle, do it straight up and fast. And, Jenny, please don’t hit a vein. That huwts me.”
This short piece of dialogue from Everett’s story expresses her brother’s personality and allows the reader to sympathize with his position and admire his bravery. Everett takes the readers on her own journey; she wants them to experience her world and her personal feelings. Everett uses dialogue as a platform to engage her readers.
‘I pierce the fatty tissue and wince…’
Descriptive sentences like the one above forces the reader to attach feelings to pictures in their mind. It connects the reader to the story. Everett has no lack of descriptive sentences in her story, and thus it allows her to pass her own feelings and emotions onto the reader, cleverly enabling me to relate to her story, even though I don’t even have a brother.
I think Jenny’s story could strike a cord with most of her readers. Her use of dialogue makes you familiar with her characters, while her descriptive work enables you to relate to her own emotions.
Dialogue and description make Everett’s story memorable.
What other aspects do you think make a story memorable?
1. Everett, J. (2005). My little brother on drugs. In J. Weiner & T. Folger (Eds), The Best American Science and Nature Writing (pp 53-63). New York: Houghton Mifflin Company