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Writing the Spoken Word

I’ve been running a book versus movie theme lately, ha, didn’t even realize it. But I’ve got another one.

Love Joss Whedon [except for Buff-me – I wasn’t a fan] and my favorite work of his is Firefly/Serenity. The slash is because I equally love the movie and the short-lived television show. When I’m on a good run with my writing, I like to pop in the tv show; I have the box set. The rhythm, the pacing, the score, I find it soothing, even with the gunshots.

[I don’t do silence well. For some reason, when working on something, anything, that I want to devote my attention to, I need noise to concentrate. Too much noise, I get a little nuts. But if it’s silent, I can’t focus my brain. It’s like there is so much going on in my head that it needs a distraction.]

I had Serenity on yesterday and I was watching it, as opposed to writing thru it. And it occurred to me that I love the dialogue. In my opinion, dialogue has its own cadence that is particular to the individual writer. You might argue that each character - if well written - should have their own speech pattern, and I don’t disagree. But when you’re writing dialogue, those patterns meld into a distinctive pattern and those patterns are telling. I can pick out a Stephen King story from how the dialogue is written and his characters are diverse. Same can be said for Nora Roberts. Lesser known writers, like Winter Austin and Katie Kenyhernz whose books I recently read and reviewed, have their own distinctive styles as well.

This is not to be interpreted as I find anyone of these writers to be repetitive. Each book and the characters within them are unique (tropes not withstanding ;) ). But the writers themselves have a certain way of telling their stories that are individual to them. And we tell stories through dialogue.

I can spend three pages describing a tree. The bark, the birds, the leaves, how the wind moves through the leaves, how the sun shines on the knots in the wood, you get the idea. But the story doesn’t move until the two people under that tree have a conversation.

Joss Whedon’s dialogue in Serenity is, in my opinion, the exception that proves the rule. Buffy, Angel, The Avengers, the dialogue in these movies bear the mark of Whedon. You can identify, or at least I could, these movies as his. But Serenity is different. Maybe because he felt differently.

Regardless, it’s a smorgasbord for the ears. Thanks Joss


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