Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Speakeasy, Flashing Their Goodies and Funnies

If you play with fire, you might be a pyromaniac.

I bet you thought I was going to say something else.

This brings up an interesting point about phrasing. On Saturday night, my friends were watching The Fantastic Four. I’d told them it was alright, for a cheesy super-hero movie.

But I’d seen it before. Not exactly voluntarily either. So I was lying there with my eyes closed, listening to the dialogue, cringing.

It was so…predictable. So clich├ęd.

This is something to bear in mind in writing. Dialogue can make or break a scene in a book. The trick to good dialogue is to listen to how people actually talk. How they use words in conversation.

One thing I realized I was tempted to do was dump information into speech, but then I got my knuckles rapped by people much much smarter*than me, asking if that’s what someone would really say.

Believability with dialogue is essential. And when I come to overly wordy sections in print, it does break the flow of the scene and the image of the character. Unless they’re known as motormouth behind their back.

I think it can be hard to pinpoint, at times, why dialogue falls short. But when dialogue sizzles you sure notice it.

My own personal favourite book for dialogue is A Question of Blood. Not just because I haven’t been talking about my literary god enough lately, but because by the time I read that book in the series the characters were so clear in my head that I could almost anticipate what would come out of their mouths. The interaction had me grinning, thinking “dead on.”

But what else would one expect of their writing god?

There is brilliance elsewhere too. The “Bingo” scene in Mark Billingham’s The Burning Girl - do not drink coffee before reading, or any other beverage you want to ingest, actually. Not to mention the scene where Thorne takes a baby gift to Holland…

Billingham is at least up on a pedestal, if not deified yet. But it's a one-inch pedestal because he's already so frickin' tall.

And I probably shouldn't talk about Rickards and the bearded wonderboy.

No, I shouldn't go there, because this has suddenly become a love-in for some of my favourite writers and I’d better switch gears before I get too gushy. Can’t have swelled heads and all that.

But it leaves me wondering what makes for good dialogue for all of you. Because I'm oddly short on words at 5 am this morning.



Go to Rickards for flashing his goodies over on Tribe's flash fiction site.

And not only him, who likely scared Tribe into posting his work by threatening the full monty in person, but CHRISTA M. MILLER has been exposed at Tribe's site today.

And recently, Footsore Sergienko strutted her stuff at Tribe's site too.

I should stop playing on blogs and get writing.


Things to think about

1. How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it
would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?
2. When I was young we used to go "skinny dipping," now I just "chunky dunk."
3. How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?
4. Why do you have to "put your two cents in"... but it's only a penny for your thoughts"? Where's that extra penny going?
5. Once you're in heaven, do you get stuck wearing the clothes you
were buried in for eternity?
6. Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies
wakeup like every two hours?
7. Why are you IN a movie, but you are ON TV?
8. Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?
9. How come we choose from just two people for President and fifty for Miss America?
10. I signed up for an exercise class and was told to wear loose-fitting clothing. If I HAD any loose-fitting clothing, I wouldn't have signed up in the first place!
11. Wouldn't it be nice if whenever we messed up our life we could simply press 'Ctrl Alt Delete' and start all over?
12. Stress is when you wake up screaming and then you realize you haven't fallen asleep yet.
13. Just remember...if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.
14. Why is it that our children can't read a Bible in school, but they
can in prison?
15. Brain cells come and brain cells go, but fat cells live forever.

Revenge is a dish best served cold

A woman recently lost her husband. Their marriage had been a very lousy one, and she was relieved that he was finally gone. She had him cremated and brought his ashes home.

Picking up the urn that he was in, she poured him out on the counter. Then she started talking to him, "You know that fur coat you promised me?" She answered by saying, "I bought it with the insurance money!"

She then said, "Remember that new car you promised me?" She answered again saying, "Well, I bought it with the insurance money!"

Bending down low she said, "Remember that blow job I promised you? Well.... here it comes..."

(Think of it this way Boy Kim. That won’t be you…)

* actually, I'm not sure it was him who said that, but you should still check out his blog. I like it.

And now, I'm going back to bed and hope to return slightly more literate and intelligent. Until then, this is me:


Trace said...

LOL I Love the joke!

Boy Kim said...

Damn right it won't be me.

I have no intention of promising anyone a blow-job.

Sandra Ruttan said...

There goes another keyboard...

Boy Kim said...

Oops. Sorry.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Oh no, thanks for the laugh.

And at least it wasn't something else that got wet.

Stuart MacBride said...

OK, the smut police called: they want you all to stop before this gets any filthier.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Geez, MacBride, I'm just glad I'm not old enough to have bladder control issues.

What were you thinking?!

Erik Ivan James said...

All along I've been telling my family to cremate me. Rethinking that.

JamesO said...

You must be incredibly scruffy, Sandra, if you think I'm smarter than you.

Christa M. Miller said...

Thanks for the mention, Sandra!

I am way too practical. I read that punchline and thought, "Why is she doing this in the kitchen? She'll just have to sweep him up again. Why not do it outside in a dog run or something?"

Again: TOO practical.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Erik, LOL! Sorry to impose on your final arrangements!

James, don't sell yourself short.

LOL Christa! Yeah, who needs the mess?

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Loved the jokes...I thought she was going to say, "Remember that vacuum you promised me..."

Bernita said...

Yep, I'm with Christa.

Tribe said...

Uhm, all your links have double "http://" in them. Now, I'll just bow out....

Sandra Ruttan said...

Geesh, thanks for pointing that out. Blogger's been really weird to me this week...