che_gilson: (luna 5)
Like everything else in comics I have strong opinions on dialogue. Much like narration it is more often abused than used well. The best advice on dialogue I ever received was from a book on screenwriting. Which one, I'm not sure, but I do recommend a good one for any comics author. (one of my personal favorites being "How Not to Write a Screenplay" by Michael Halperin)

This sage advice was pretty much 'the shorter the better'. Never say in 5 sentances what you can say in one. It's true this means sacrifices. Your characters may not get out everything out that you want them too. But the dialogue that is dropped is in all likelyhood bloated and redundant. Written more for the author's edification than for any real necessity.

Some may be tempted to fire back with 'but there are long chunks of dialogue in movies!' Yes, this is true. The difference being that dialogue in movies is being performed by a PERSON who is living and moving, ever so subtly (or not) on screen. That 'life' is what holds our attention every bit as much as the dialogue itself. (Or it should if it's a good movie) Comics are static. Nothing moves and the eye moves constantly, looking for the next thing. First the eye and then the mind will wander over long cnunks of dialogue. At which point the reader has either skimmed over all the writer's efforts in order to get the gyst of it- OR- put the book back on the shelf.

Dialogue in general should also flow logically from one idea to the next. No matter how random or funny the writer thinks they are non-sequiters are usually just confusing. What about realism? "I want to write like my friends talk!' This doesn't work in the written word either. Anything, from prose to script, is a HEIGHTENED reality. All the 'uhs' ,'umms', and 'like' should be removed. Too much slang and you risk not only alienating the reader but dating your work. Chances are the slang will be passe by the time it sees print. Simplify and clarify your dialogue! That doesn't mean talking down to the readers. It means that brevity is the soul of wit. The profoundest ideas will be most potent when they can be UNDERSTOOD.

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che_gilson

May 2011

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