So, it’s Sunday, and I’m trying to get some work done in my capacity as copy-editor for Curiosity Quills Press, and I am not-quite lamenting my inability to get my shit together and work on my own stuff again. Then, I starting thinking about other writers that I like, and how I am, in some ways, like them, and in how many other ways I am decidedly NOT like them.
One of the things I like to write is dialogue. I love dialogue. I know that it flies in the face of that old writing chestnut, “show, don’t tell,” but I really like putting a couple of characters in a situation and listening to them just hash something out. The verbal jabs, the innuendo, the comedy, the outright hostility… there’s nothing like winding up a couple fictional characters and following them down that road of interaction and being not quite sure where they’ll end up.
That’s why I love Kevin Smith’s movies.
I love listening to his characters just bring it every single time they open their mouths.
Whether it’s Randall and Dante in Clerks or Loki and Bartleby in Dogma, or even the not really one-sided conversations of Jay and Silent Bob, the dialogue in his movies is always compelling to me. (And don’t get me started on those incredible, long, monologues in Red State and Tusk.)
Does that mean I think my dialogue is as good as Kevin Smith’s? Hell, I don’t know. I’ve never asked anyone to compare any of my stuff to his specifically. All I’m saying is that I kind of use him as a touchstone, a goal-post, for when I’m writing dialogue.
Likewise, I find that when I write description, I tend to always read it as if it’s in a fantasy or science fiction novel. If I can convince myself that it works in that way, then I figure it will work everywhere else. Why because in SFF you are creating something that doesn’t exist, so if I can do that, then articulating something real becomes that much easier.
So that’s how I’m spending my Sunday. I suppose I should get back to work on this editing job. That author can’t wait forever for my notes.
And if I don’t finish this, how can I ever hope to get back to my own stuff?