Twin Faces of JoyaTazz: (Un)Necessary Dialogue Challenges

Posted by Joygirl (20158 posts) - - Show Bio

@joygirl and @razzatazz join forces in an article/debate regarding dialogue challenges in comics that may or may not be worth it.

--------------------------

RazzaTazz:

"In terms of writing style the story is absolutely the most important thing. In my experience of talking to other writers, it is not the characters that they have trouble with, nor the setting. Those things come easy, it is usually that the story cannot be resolved in a way to provide a proper amount of inspiration to keep writing. In the terms of a character like Etrigan, where the rhyming is part of the story, this can serve as a hindrance in terms of story development. If the writer has to focus on how to work dialogue into a story while at the same time trying to develop the story, it is an unnecessary encumbrance to the overall development. So many times when I have been writing the choice of words at a key juncture has to be both realistic and powerful. If the framework of a different form of dialogue has to be worked into the story in addition to other developments it can add unnecessary complexity which might drive the story too far into the absurd. As an extension of the premise, imagine if characters instead of having to speak in rhyme had to speak in haiku or some other more advanced form of poetry. The end result would not justify the means and the writer's effort might be wasted as well as the character's development might be stunted."

Joygirl:

"Quite true. In the case of rhyming characters like Etrigan the Demon (or even Thor, who has to speak in ye-olde-butchered-norseish), it's a complete layer added to the difficulty of storytelling. However, I can think of a few reasons why it works.

1. As I've mentioned a few times before, sometimes when you're writing a character you aren't deeply familiar with, you can "fake it" by utilizing a gimmick. Using a character like Etrigan, you don't even have to have too solid a grasp on his actual character -- if you can consistently write in a sinister rhyme, the majority of readers won't know the difference.

2. While the challenge is blatantly apparent, the stakes are raised, and a lesser writer may stumble against the added difficulty, the reward can also be greater. You mentioned needing to have strong, punchy dialogue in dire moments, and that's a very serious concern. But imagine if you could still have that same kind of strong dialogue... but you also manage to make it rhyme, or fit whatever other gimmick the character you're working with uses. I get chills when I read stuff like that."

RazzaTazz:

"While the format might indeed challenge certain writers to raise the quality of their work and the same time it does not mean that it is a worthy extension of their craft. For whatever the writer may feel like writing, or for whatever their inspiration might be, the use of rhyming is likely not meant to be their main focus, and therefore it would have two effects. The end result will be affected by how the reader grasps it, and the creative process will be clouded by the need to adhere to the format. In my own writings I once had the characters interact over their favourite song lyrics, which I ended up writing. The process of writing the lyrics was not a normal one for me, the words could not easily flow out, instead I had to carefully consider what it was that I wanted the song to say and how to say it. If the same process needs to be repeated over and over in a fictional work, it is going to make a huge distraction for the writer.

Additionally I will point out that Etrigan and Thor are both fantasy based characters, which seems to be another limitation of the gimmick. There are never rhyming robots...."

Joygirl:

"No rhyming robots, no, but speech patterns are in no way restricted to fantasy characters. Consider, for instance, Bizarro. Bizarro has to use Bizarro-speak, which in itself is an enormous challenge that no writer can get completely right no matter how hard they try. You can only reverse things so much before they become incomprehensible.

However, some writers can make this work, such as the fellow who did Bizarro's origin story in the Countdown event (note that I'm not endorsing Countdown! It's still horrible! I only read it for the Harley bits!). That fella (wish I could remember his name, forgot to check) managed to make it work, by telling the story backwards and using just the correct amount of "bizarroization". You understood exactly what was supposed to be said, while still getting the perfect feel for it. And I was grinning like a maniac all the way through -- that effect would have been completely abandoned if Bizarro-speak hadn't been a part of the character. It would have just been any old mini-origin all over again -- boring, trite, and barely-informational."

----------------------

What are your thoughts on this possible writing handicap? Is it a hindrance, or merely a new possible reward? Post your ideas in the comments!

#1 Posted by Pyrogram (41246 posts) - - Show Bio

Oh my god. JoyzTazz! Heheh xD

This was intriguing, nice nice - I agree heavily with this actually..

you can "fake it" by utilizing a gimmick.

In other regards, Thor does not anyways speak in that tone anymore however as some writers can give the impression of his nobleness without speaking in old language, I am unsure how to articulate it but if you read some modern Thor he actually speaks pretty normal these-days.

#2 Posted by ARMIV2 (8808 posts) - - Show Bio

Excellent read, as always. I've never stopped to think about how much character dialogue affects the story, and even less though was spent in how a character such as Etrigan rolls with the story's flow when he's rhyming his vernacular. Definitely has me looking back at some of the story and character concepts I've come up with over the years...

#3 Posted by akbogert (3227 posts) - - Show Bio

I've never read a character like Etrigan (or Thor, for what it's worth). But I guess I'm just a bit confused. If you truly find a character like Etrigan unnecessarily complicated or cumbersome to your story, then don't write a story with Etrigan. You can't say "but he's crucial to my plot" if that crucial-ness is impeded by a major aspect of the character.

Put more simply: the characters and story are not separate. They are symbiotic. If your dialogue or character traits are considered obstacles to your story, (or vice versa) then you are not yet a good writer.

#4 Edited by Fuchsia_Nightingale (10180 posts) - - Show Bio

The only dialogue I have a gripe is the constant reminder of a characters powers and abilities, how do I explain this ? I mean I don't have a set example off the top of my head. But I'll see from time to time, in things like New 52 it's okay, and it is okay, cause there is always new readers, yet it feels simplistic. "Hey I got super strength, don't worry."

Yeah we know.

#5 Posted by RazzaTazz (9698 posts) - - Show Bio

Just to be clear Joygirl and I were debating this as per usual debate rules, we chose a side to debate and made our points, regardless of how we actually feel on the subject.

#6 Posted by akbogert (3227 posts) - - Show Bio

Just to be clear Joygirl and I were debating this as per usual debate rules, we chose a side to debate and made our points, regardless of how we actually feel on the subject.

Cool. How did this come about? Were you and @joygirl already discussing it and decided to turn it into a thread, or what?

#7 Posted by RazzaTazz (9698 posts) - - Show Bio

@akbogert: We just decided to collaborate together. We both write so a debate about writing seemed like a good idea.

#8 Posted by akbogert (3227 posts) - - Show Bio

@razzatazz: Does this mean there shall be other similar threads in the (near) future?

#9 Posted by RazzaTazz (9698 posts) - - Show Bio

@akbogert: Hopefully the entity known as Joyatazz will return.

#10 Posted by Pyrogram (41246 posts) - - Show Bio
#11 Posted by Joygirl (20158 posts) - - Show Bio

Bump!

#12 Posted by laflux (17551 posts) - - Show Bio
#13 Edited by Pyrogram (41246 posts) - - Show Bio
#14 Posted by laflux (17551 posts) - - Show Bio
#15 Posted by Pyrogram (41246 posts) - - Show Bio

@laflux: Me, You , deranged midget <3

Would be the worst ship in existence - a titanic of a ship.

#16 Edited by dngn4774 (3413 posts) - - Show Bio

I prefer @razzatazz's approach because it gives the writer more control of the story. Like @joygirl said, adding these "gimmicks" are a good bonus to the audience since it contributes a layer of authenticity to the character, but if it feels like it was forced into the plot then it should not be put in. The problem with this is deciding the proper place when to add the gimmick into the story while still making it coherent with the rest of the character's actions.

#17 Posted by RazzaTazz (9698 posts) - - Show Bio

@dngn4774: Good points, I think personally that if it fits then go with it.

#18 Posted by akbogert (3227 posts) - - Show Bio

@dngn4774: it just seems to me that if the "gimmick" is an identifiable trait of the character, then a writer who cannot incorporate that speech pattern into their story should not be using that particular character. You suggest that it's wrong to force the dialogue, but I'd say dismissing the dialogue is trying to force the character where they didn't really fit.

I just am tired of seeing characters written inconsistently because the writer couldn't properly make use of the entire character in the story they were trying to tell. If you can't write a character consistently with how they were designed to be used, then use a different character.

#19 Edited by Pyrogram (41246 posts) - - Show Bio

@akbogert said:

I just am tired of seeing characters written inconsistently because the writer couldn't properly make use of the entire character in the story they were trying to tell. If you can't write a character consistently with how they were designed to be used, then use a different character.

I agree with this highly actually, Thor for example has been written strangely and his dialect changes from Norse, to american style then back to Norse and its all strange. At one point it was not even Thor speaking when he fought Surfer on Mars. It was really strange reading it when it looked like him, but read nothing like how he would speak.

#20 Edited by Joygirl (20158 posts) - - Show Bio

I so forgot about this. @RazzaTazz: we need to do this again sometime!

#21 Posted by RazzaTazz (9698 posts) - - Show Bio

This edit will also create new pages on Comic Vine for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Comic Vine users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.