[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #33 - S...2006 [spoilers]

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Sat Oct 14 15:42:07 PDT 2006

On Saturday 14 Oct 2006 Martin Phipps <martinphipps2 at yahoo.com> replied:
>Saxon Brenton wrote:
>>      One distinct stylist trait that readers will have noticed is that
>>most of Martin's text is usually straight dialogue, and very readable
>>dialogue at that.  Long time readers will also note that Martin usually
>>writes stories (in whatever imprint) to the length that he feels he
>>needs to tell a story, with very little in the way of embellishment.
>That's because I'm still primarily a humour writer and I follow the
>rules of comedy more than drama.

<Nod>  Yes, I was thinking of mentioning that in the original text, and
probably shouldn't have decided against it, since it's such an important
criteria for why your writing is structured the way it is.


>People wonder why I often post immediately after I finish typing.  The 
>truth is that if I go back and second guess a story I find that my rewrites 
>are never as good as what I originally wrote: they either come out 
>contrived, forced or overwritten.  Dialogue probably should never be second 
>guessed because we never get a chance to second guess what we say in real 
>life so why give that opportunity to your characters?

Interesting approach to the problem.  I do the opposite, because
although I know dialogue in fiction can sound very contrived and totally
unlike what real speech sounds like (and the habit of superheros to
exposit vast philosophical soliloquies in the middle of a fight scene
is perhaps one of the most extreme examples of that), it can be
ameliorated somewhat by adding the occasional redundancy: 'uhm',
'like', 'you know' or perhaps a stutter, and of course Pratchett-style
comic misunderstandings and interruptions.  It doesn't always work,
but I go over both text and dialogue and try to craft them to seem
as if they're flowing naturally.  I also try to follow up on a comment
that Louise Jones made decades ago when she was still the editor
on the New Mutants, and listen to the way people speak in real life
rather than the way they do in the media.  (IIRC she was talking
about the way that real teenagers talked compared to the way the
then fashionable Valley Girls did.)

Saxon Brenton     Uni of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia

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