Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Is This Too Contrived?" I ask.


How to make it sound as real as possible? I hate reading books in which the dialogue sounds too contrived. Too fake. You know, where you kind of wrinkle your nose in disgust and think, No one talks like that. (I just used internal dialogue to further my rant against contrived dialogue which hopefully doesn't sound too contrived.)

The best example that comes to mind isn't a book, but a TV show most are probably familiar with-Gilmore Girls. I enjoyed Gilmore Girls sometimes, but that constant witty banter kind of ruined it for me because who is that witty all the time?

But there is a fine balance between too contrived and too real. Because face it, we don't talk as well as we write. If I transcribed my daily dialogue it would sound something like this.

"Do you want begeela or bebeela for breakfast?"

"No, not begeela. I go pee-pee in my diaper now."

"Do you want to go pee-pee in the potty?"

"No. I play fireman house now. Play wid me."

"Mommy is too tired. Baby in Mommy's tummy makes mommy tired."

Hmmm, and I even dressed that up too by removing some of my own baby-talk, like how I say "brefast" instead of "breakfast" and how my son's spoken sentence structure is far better than mine.

I think dialogue that reads too fake reminds me of plays I watched in high school with kids that couldn't act. You just can't believe the play or the characters. (But you stay because Algernon is so cute.) Dialogue can really affect the believability of your characters. And my characters want to be believed.

P.S. It's a girl.


  1. Yay! So now you have a girl and a boy. :-) Fun stuff! LOL
    Good post and I'm probably not that helpful. I'm not sure how good my dialogue is. One of my fav shows is House and I love the dialogue, but people in life don't always talk like that. Witty, like you said. :-)