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

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Sat Oct 14 20:40:05 PDT 2006

Saxon Brenton wrote:
> On Saturday 14 Oct 2006 Martin Phipps <martinphipps2 at yahoo.com> replied:

> >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?

Or maybe I'm just lazy and don't like to edit myself.  There's that

> 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.

If you type at the same speed that you speak then there's no problem
writing dialogue as long as you stay true to the character.  If I
hesitate while writing then that's where I will put an "um".  I do
worry a bit about making dialogue seem rehersed: I'm actually more
likely to go back and edit dialogue in the court scenes because half
the time it _has been_ rehersed between the lawyer and witness and I
sometimes deliberately want it to sound rehersed.  Consider this
exchange between Weapon Alpha and Michael King in Superfreaks #13:

  Michael's eyes squinted.  "So these ninjas left
their clothes and weapons behind and are now running
around naked?" he asked incredulously.
  "Actually, no," Weapon Alpha admitted, "you see
ninjas don't take very kindly to being spotted.  I had
to defend myself.  I killed them."
  "You killed them?"
  "Yes.  In self defense."
  "Where are the bodies?"
  "Their bodies dissolved."
  "Their bodies... dissolved?"
  "Yes.  If they die then their bodies dissolve.  In
fact, any DNA left behind by a ninja, hair, blood,
skin, it would dissolve so that nothing is left behind
to identify the ninja.  They inject themselves with
some sort of chemical.  A drug that, you know, does
that.  Causes them to dissolve I mean.  Secrecy is
paramount to the toe clan."

The explanation that Weapon Alpha gives is completely different from
what a government scientist might give.  He clearly doesn't know any of
the specific details about the drug that the toe clan uses to achieve
this effect and he isn't accustomed to talking about it so there's a
lot of hesitation in his voice and he's constantly throwing in more
information to clarify what he means.  Because I didn't know either
what I was going to write until I started typing this scene I was able
to get this effect naturally.  Sometimes it's good to be lazy. :)


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