Sunday, June 03, 2007

Yak Yak Yak Yak Yak

I have a real love for dialogue in my writing. It's not a secret. Maybe it’s because of the hours and hours on end of watching television during the regular season, and the tonne of movies of which I'm so fond. I don't know that my dialogue is all that great, at least in and of itself. I do read my dialogue out loud when I edit to make sure I'm not letting anything in that sounds bad. It may not be easy to hear, find, or write great dialogue, but it sure is difficult to not hear it when it's bad. What I do like to believe, and no one who proofreads for me has disabused me of, is that I know how to get the most out of my dialogue.

What should dialogue do? The first thing is obvious; convey ideas between one character and another. The second thing is a little more transparent in good dialogue; convey ideas from the characters to the audience. The third thing isn't something that the reader thinks about directly; the dialogue should convey the character's character to the audience. What someone says can speak volumes about the person. This goes beyond just speech patterns, accents, and other indicators of where the character lives and/or grew up.

Then there are the things that dialogue can say about the relationship between the two (or more) speakers. On a side note, this is where I wish that in English we had something akin to the Japanese honorifics, because I really love the added depth they bring. All of these modes of communication bundled up into dialogue lead us to the last thing required for good dialogue: the parts outside of the quotation marks. While I love it best to convey as much as I can inside the quotes I do like the variety of "dialogue tags". There's nothing wrong with every dialogue tag being "he said" or "she said", but there are ever so many words to use in place of said to add even more meaning to your dialogue. This is without even getting in body language to enhance your dialogue.

Mood: level.
Music: Let's Get Rocked by Def Leppard and Kickstart My Heart by Motley Crue.

Def Leppard: Rock Of Ages
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Motley Crue: Red White & Crue

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