Monday, March 29, 2010

Blog Chain: Dialogue Rules!

It's blog chain day!
This time around, we're going to do some talking about... well... talking :).
The chatty Kate asked:
Do you enjoy writing dialogue? Do you use a lot of dialogue in your writing (for our purposes "a lot" will be defined as more than a smidge and yet not so much that the quotes key on your computer is completely worn out.)? Do you have example(s) of dialogue you especially enjoyed from something you've read? Do you have example(s) of dialogue from your own writing? What about these examples makes them special?
Great questions!
I'm going to follow the thought train of the kick-ass Cole and talk about my undying and passionate love for Joss Whedon. Have any of you guys seen the show Firefly? If you haven't, seriously, go get it! It's one of the best shows I've ever put into my eye holes. Two words: Space cowboys.
However, it's not just the space cowboy goodness that makes this show one of my favorites. What is it, you ask? The dialogue! Joss is the king of witty repartee.
Here are some of my favorite exchanges from the show:
Kaylee: "Well, we're headed for help... right?"

Zoe: "Captain will come up with a plan."

Kaylee: "That's good. Right?"

Zoe: "Possibly you're not recalling some of his previous plans."
Mal: "Well, look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. Whaddya suppose that makes us?"

Zoe: "Big damn heroes, sir."

Mal: "Ain't we just!"
Mal: "I would appreciate it if one person on this boat would not assume I'm an evil, lecherous hump."

Zoe: "No one's saying that, sir."

Wash: "Yeah, we're pretty much just giving each other significant glances and laughing incessantly."
What I love about this dialogue is that it is jam-packed with voice, and each little scenario gives us not only something to snicker at, but lets us get a glimpse at the character.
Great dialogue is the epitome of showing instead of telling.
Instead of describing someone as "sassy," you can have him/her sassing someone before our very eyes. Much more effective, don't you think?
I personally love dialogue, but I also don't overuse it. There is a place for everything. As a wise man once said, in all things moderation is key.
So, what do you guys think? Do you love dialogue? Why or why not?


Christine Fonseca said...

Oh me some dialogue! GREAT job!!

B.J. Anderson said...

Sigh. Firefly. I own it, and it really sucks that there's no more. Goram Fox!!

KM said...

Good dialogue can make or break a book (or movie, for that matter) for me. I always loved "Gilmore Girls" because it had great one-liners.

Christi Goddard said...

Joss Whedon is amazing. People scoffed at Angel and Buffy as lame TV who never watched it, but they didn't understand -the dialogue was the best out there. It's why I own both shows, all seasons.

asabourova said...

I love dialogue... and it was Joss Whedon who really made me appreciate how wonderful it could be. I loved Firefly, but before that I loved Angel (proud owner of all 5 seasons!).

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Some of my Facebook friends use an app where they seek wisdom from Captain Mal, and they come up with some great lines! Too bad I don't have time for TV.

Anyway, yes, dialogue is good for showing character.

Eric said...

Yes, I am one of the few who have not seen Firefly. I don't know why. I keep saying I'm going to watch, but I never do. Anyway, these are good examples of dialogue to be sure. Nice post.

Mandy said...

Great post, and great example!!Firefly is in my Netflix queue right now! ;) I LOVE Joss Whedon!

Kat Harris said...

Great post! I especially agree with what you said about dialogue and voice.

Elana Johnson said...

I totally agree. It is the epitome of showing versus telling. Great examples!

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Love the Whedon love this topic has inspired! I think what is really great about this particular example is how many different characters are all talking and interacting - yet each one of them is distinct and adds to the conversation. I find group dialogue like this really hard to do - but he makes it look easy!