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A Small Note on Dialogue

I like dialogue.

I like it in novels, comics, movies, TV, anything, anywhere, and I like it in its many different forms, with the one exception of the comic book stylised accent speech that, no matter how it is done, is by and large awful.

Mostly, I think that is because it is forced and artificial. You can have artificial speech, of course: the majority of monologues, narrative conversations, and stylised speech is artificial, and nothing like real life. In fact, I would probably argue that most dialogue in fiction is artificial, simply because dialogue in real life is often made up of small communications, touches, movements, and the word, 'uh,' on repeat through anything that stretches out for more than two sentences (one of my pet hates in radio presenters, that). But within the confines of a work of fiction, the rules change, as they do for all things. Just as you don't need to see every moment in the toilet, every bad smell, choice body odour and whatever else you don't usually see, dialogue is subject to that, and people can turn and speak to the reader, give huge speeches without pause, and exchange quick, rapid fire exchanges that require precise comic timing to pull it off. In that world, the bad phonetics of, "Ye cannae stop it!" is forced and artificial, and it is rarely done well, in part because of the rest of the words that surround it, and which rarely compliment the use.

At any rate, back to working on Innocence. I have been plotting and cutting and rewriting away as I structure a rather complex part of it, and everything proceeds along, the whole thing taking shape and substance as it does.

Well, at least so far.

Comments

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kaaronwarren
Jul. 26th, 2013 02:58 am (UTC)
If you want to hear me read terrible dialogue, tune in to Radio for the Print Handicapped, Thursday, 10 am. I read the Woman's Day Serial.
"So, brother, did you see our other brother this week?"
"Oh, do you mean our brother Gareth? No, I didn't."
benpeek
Jul. 26th, 2013 03:46 am (UTC)
brother, that sure is terrible

Edited at 2013-07-26 03:47 am (UTC)
kaaronwarren
Jul. 26th, 2013 04:02 am (UTC)
I'm not exaggerating, either.
ataxi
Jul. 26th, 2013 05:37 pm (UTC)
You know that service that converts your voicemail messages to text messages? I find the verbal expression in the resulting texts fascinating.

I'd guess there'd be a lot to be said for actually taping and transcribing what people say in real life. As you say above, the vernacular is incredibly clipped and leaps from subject to subject continually through context and gesture.
benpayne
Jul. 30th, 2013 08:21 am (UTC)
I really hate the accent dialogue of Rogue in Uncanny X-Men. It's *so* irritating.
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