Visiting Ireland…


Ahh… out here in the Mojave, yet able to visit Ireland, via BBC Radio 4, and “Maeve and Me”—What could be better?

At home, trying to write, but with low mental and physical energy, combined with a mindset not completely in tune with writing—and—on the other side of the possibilities pendulum, not inclined to do household chores of any kind.

Most fortunately, I had Maeve Binchy’s “Dublin 4”[i] on the top of one of my stacks of beloved books—ready for the right moment! And with my trusty Kindle at my side, as it often is, loaded with yet to be read or heard kindle and audio book offerings, I’ve been in couch-potato heaven. I did think about writing—but not about doing improvement tasks, or dusting “write your name in it” dust laden furniture, or any of the other neglected household items, or heaven forbid—donning a mask and going out into 2020’s real world. The “thinking” about writing part prompted this post…

Here’s the rambling part of this post that hopefully will end later with a writing tidbit/thought/adventure. Thru Amazon/Audible I first listened to a BBC Radio 4 Broadcast of Charles Paris, played by Bill Nighby, then there was Rumpole, played by Julian Rhind-Tutt, and now I’m finishing up Father Paolo Baldi played by David Threlfall. (I’m mentioning the actors names because I think they have great voices in case you want to give any of them a try) My current listening, Paolo Baldi, has taken me to his Ireland, including traveling around a bit, and I love his mystery focused adventures, and the Ireland he sees.

The next stop on my rambling writing road is Maeve Binchy and her book. I’m in a wonderful book club, and periodically, each of us have to come up with a selection. Fellow Writer in Residence, Rosemary Lord, mentioned Maeve Binchy in one of her posts,[ii] and I thought at the time, one of her books might be a good idea for book club. So I decided to buy a used one[iii] from Amazon, and have fallen in love with her Ireland.

So how does this all come together? After several years of listening to BBC radio,  my reading-self finally realized, that through the spoken-word only, I was hearing and putting together a whole story—location, action, clues, scenery, characters…all through dialogue. There are a few side-effects like a phone ringing, and stomping feet—but the story is carried completely through dialogue. Could I do that? Definitely not.

Then Maeve, who takes you to Ireland up close and personal, with lovely characters and situations–does so much of her story telling through dialogue. You get to know her characters, the setting, motivations, emotions, often via what they say. Can I do that? Definitely not.

Clearly, dialogue can do it all if done right, and I need to learn much more when it comes to writing dialogue, and I plan to definitely enhance my writing along that line. Once again, I’m sharing what’s going on with me with the hope it will help you in your writing. Although, I’m rather reticent it took me soooooo long to realize I needed to enhance my dialogue skills! Sigh. And even though I haven’t spent “enough” time at my computer (per my writing-conscience), I do think I’m going to be working on moving more of my story telling into dialogue.

I’m also thinking this will NOT be easy…

Happy Writing Trails

[i] It’s an old used copy I bought through Amazon from a book store across the country. It has the “feel” of being loved by many. Maeve Binchy on wikipedia


[iii] Didn’t notice until after I took the picture, London 4’s cover title is the exact same fuchsia color as my Kindle cover. Eerie.

16 thoughts on “Visiting Ireland…”

  1. Mad, Since I know how well you do settings, I know you will tackle dialogue with gusto. I took acting lessons when I first moved to California so I could learn how to write interesting speech between characters and internal monologues. Aristotle considered dialogue one of the five basic parts of writing along with plot, setting, characters, and the meaning or point to a story. I will enjoy reading future stories from you to see what you come up with. Thanks for making me think of ways to polish my own work.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, Gayle, thanks for reminding me about dialogue being a key element in story telling. I “knew” that, but I didn’t “know” that internally.(if what I just said makes any sense) I think what really got me, was the richness and complete story telling that can be accomplished in a radio broadcast. (Hubby as a kid listened to The Shadow etc… , but I never much was a radio listener. And they do such a great job on BBC… Always a new adventure to keep me interested in writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Paul, and your advice is excellent! I did take both a screenwriting class and an acting class, but that was way back in the 70s in a different life. Didn’t do well, but thinking might be time for revisiting those type of classes. There are a couple community colleges out this way…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pleased to read your take on dialogue, most crucial as the ‘show, don’t tell’ rule. Best book I have read on the subject is master editor, playwright and author Sol Stein’s “Stein in Writing,” crammed full of great ideas and concepts and a brilliant chapter on dialogue. I use dialogue as much as possible in the autobiographies and memoirs I write – someone said they read far more interestingly as a pseudo-novel than as a non-fiction book filled with narrative. Dialogue can bring every story alive. By the way, Madeline, you express yourself EXTREMELY well!! Love your blogs.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Madeline, I adore Maeve Binchy. Evening Class is my favorite of hers. She sure knew how to keep the pages flying! I visited Ireland in 2007 and was in her town of Dalkey, near Dublin. She was still with us then, but I didn’t see her or her home. As for dialogue, it’s my favorite part of writing and so useful for conveying information. Also a good way to define characters. Good post! Stay safe.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow, Maggie! You were in Ireland, and near her home. And yes, she does seem to keep the pages flying, and in the collections of shorts I read, there wasn’t a big dramatic plot–but people being people and written so loverly, and as I mentioned, with great dialogue. Yes, you stay safe, too.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Linda, I’ve tried my hand at writing a screenplay, and of course bought several books(smile) on the topic! I didn’t enjoy trying to write a screenplay, so I’m going to have to figure out my own “dialogue” thinking and techniques. Fun, this writing stuff… Thanks for your kind words.


  5. Thanks, Jill, for the heads-up on Sol Stein, and I can definitely see(and read) how dialogue can and did bring alive autobiographies, biographies, and memoirs for sure. I’m thinking working on dialogue is well worth my effort in my fiction, too. Thank you sooo much for the kind words, you’ve made my day!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So glad you are enjoying Maeve Binchy books! During this shut-down with no actual travel allowed, I keep escaping to the Mediterranean through books set there. I have recently ‘visited’ Provence, Greece, Italy, Sicily, Spain and Corfu. (They are usually ‘quick reads,’ and a great way to switch my mind off at bedtime.) And I agree with everyone on the importance of dialogue; it’s how our characters tell us who they are.
    Great thought-provoking blog, Mad!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Another wonderful blog post, Madeline. I feel like I’m sitting in your living room with a cup of coffee and just chatting with you – looking at that wonderful smiling face!! I read lots of Maeve Binchy and Rosamund Pilcher years back and they are wonderful writers, perfect to emulate (if you can). I write in too much of a “wow, gee-whiz” technique, especially with my kids stories and other articles.
    I’ve visited Ireland twice, but, alas, only to touch down and get fuel. I’ve yet to touch my toes in the clover there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, Jackie, I envision sitting down chatting with you often, especially when you post on FB about events going on in your life. Your posts are wonderful glimpses into your life–and your garden–love ’em. So I’m taking your comment as high praise indeed. I’m going to look up Rosamund Pilcher! Have to keep busy (smile), housework still lurks in the background.


  8. Wow, Rosemary, I only visited Ireland, but you went all over Europe! World traveler, while never leaving CA–love it. And thank you so much for introducing me to Maeve–she’s marvelous. Ah, what reading(and listening) can do for us…


  9. Thanks for the reminder of what a wonderful escape books can be, especially now. As for writing dialogue, I second Jill’s praise of Sol Stein. His books on writing were the first that really resonated with me and I owe much of my improvement as a writer to him.


  10. Yes, Miko, we can go anywhere we want to go or an author wants to take us! Sol Stein is definitely on my list of “must reads.”!


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