So I promised to write this thread for Irishlad's How To Write Fan Fiction writing project. and I did. But then it collected dust on my flash drive because I got busy with stuff. However, I found it again, so yeah!
So, let's talk dialogue, shall we?
After you watch a movie, what do you remember the most? If you are like me, then you can't really recreate the actions of Iron Man or Thor, not well anyway (NOTE: If you can, then I totally respect you). However, you can recreate the lines you hear (or, in the case of comics: read). I mean, after the movie The Avengers came out, I kept hearing Robert Downing Jr.'s "We have a Hulk!" line everywhere I went. What I mean to say is: dialogue sticks with us longer than the actual events of the movie. Everyone can say, "E.T. .... Phone Home" with the cute alien's speech patterns if you are good at imitation like I am. However, at least in my case, I don't honestly remember a thing about what happens in that Stephen Spielberg movie (I remember the bike and a few other scenes, but that's it. That line is the major thing I remember about that movie). So, while actors do help mold the tone of a movie, it is the script writers scribbling down lines of dialogue that make the most impact on whether a movie is good or bad or, heck, even remembered.
The same could be said about writers of stories like those published here in CV's Fan-Fic section. Not to pick on any of my fellow writer's themes, but while good descriptions of fight scenes and the ability to write for heroes and villains are important for a good story, I believe the most important aspect of a story is its dialogue. It can help a character express their feelings and also explain why Iron Man is trying to beat up the God of Lightening.
When you are writing dialogue, you should put yourself in the character's shoes.
If, for example, the character whose dialogue you are writing is a preexisting character...............
- think about the past appearances of the character. Given the character's background, what would a character's reaction be to an event or speech? Would they be happy or sad? How would they phrase a reply to a challenge? Would they be surprised, angered, or happy? What emotions would they feel?
- Sort of connecting to phasing, given a character's upbringing, how would a character say something? Do they have an accent? If they do, then that could be something to consider. It depends if you care or not to include an accent in the lines a character says. However, you should at the very least consider picking your words carefully. If the character is, say, British (to use an example from my Batman's Butler series), then do you really think the character would say "Y'all" or "Hold you're horses, little missy! I be a'coming!" ? I would say NO, based on my hours of watching shows like Are You Being Served? and Doctor Who (which totally makes me an expert in these things!)
Now, if, for another example, the character whose dialogue you are writing is a new character...............
- What is your character like? Do they shy from the spotlight and don't want attention? OR, ARE THEY BOLD AND HAPPY TO SOAK UP THE SPOTLIGHT? These character traits are important when writing dialogue. They can change the meaning of a phase entirely. For example, take the line, "let me go":
"Let me go," whispered the huddled mass of rags, shivering as the guards seized him.
"Let go of me!" he shouted at the man eating bunny.
- Both are correctly phrased, but only one can fit your creation.
As many of you know, I have worked as an editor for the 5th World Order FF series (RIP btw) and more recently as an editor for individual stories. One thing I notice that a lot of new writers have trouble with is formatting. Always remember put new paragraphs when someone new is talking or if there is an action that goes in between a person's speech. It is very hard for people to read if it's not formatted right. So keep that in mind.
Also remember to read your work outloud as if you were the character. I have always found that helps. Plus: it makes the people around you think you're even more crazy than you actually are which is always awsome.
I think that raps things up. Probably I could have talked more, but all of us have our own way of saying things, so now is the time to turn things over to you. How would you write dialogue in a story? You have any advice you want to add?