jenniferkoliver: (Stock | Book!)
Jennifer K. Oliver ([personal profile] jenniferkoliver) wrote2013-12-29 12:07 pm

Entertaining Dialogue, and Why Not to Forget About It

I forget about entertaining dialogue all the time. It's another one of those million things I'm still working on. I think that often when we write we convince ourselves we're writing snappy dialogue because the dialogue is fast-paced, but it needs more than just pace: it needs to distinguish character, show character ticks, traits, attitudes, and relationship dynamics.

I recently read "Genderbending at the Madhattered", a short story by Kameron Hurley, and ended up following the link to Kameron's blog because I wanted to see what else they'd written. And I found an article about writing character banter that's worth bookmarking, Who Cares? On the Importance of Banter and Character-Driven Narrative. I hope it's OK to post a brief excerpt here:

When I went back and looked at my own writing, I realized I was spending all my time trying to be a Serious Writer, and sorely neglecting all the humor and snark that makes life itself bearable. It was the revelation that maybe I should be spending more time figuring out snarky dialogue and fight scenes that eventually led me to write God’s War the way I did.

Sometimes we can get so caught up in something else – worldbuilding, or plot – that we forget about the people, and we forget that the world exists to make the people the way they are and the plot only exists because the characters move it.

(Also, I love that Dragon Age: Origins artwork has been used in the post, because Alistair and Morrigan are wonderful examples of character banter. Actually, I love all of the questing dialogue in DA:O.)

Black Dove, by The Daylights.