Posted by johnamor | Filed under Work
Been tweaking the dialogue for Urban Animal #2 for the past week, and I’ve pretty much put most of it to bed. With the series already completely drawn, I’ve really no choice but to write in a pseudo-Marvel style — applying text that I hope works with the imagery. I had thought of leaving in the original dialogue from almost a decade ago, but a lot of it now feels verbose and cumbersome. I like to think that I am at least a little bit better at writing than I was back in college.
In reviewing my scripts and self-editing, I find that I am often guilty of using redundant dialogue, so I’ve been keeping to a set of guidelines as I go along:
1) Dialogue should be brief.
2) It should add to reader’s present knowledge.
3) It should eliminate daily conversational niceties.
4) It should push the narrative forward.
5) It should reveal the speaker’s character, directly or indirectly.
6) It should show relationships among people.
— Elizabeth Bowen
I have a fairly good ear for dialogue, but where it gets wonky is when I have to make different people talk in different ways. There’s this joke about Silver Age comics not exactly being known for their character-driven dialogue — when Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and the Flash get into a car and drive into a tunnel, if they continue whatever conversation they were having in the daylight, now that all you have is word balloons in the dark, you will have no fucking clue who is saying what. I heard this on a podcast once, and it just cracked me up. It speaks to the importance of having dialogue genuinely reflect the speaker’s personality, and that’s what I’m trying to build on today.