A trick to writing good dialogue.

If it doesn’t sound like something you or your friends would say in real life, then it will probably sound like two manikins trying to converse? You can try accents and so forth latter on when you’ve mastered simple dialogue. Listen to what people say, and then practice the cadence of what they say in your head. You’ll be surprised at how well this works.  I don’t write dialogue the way I talk, because I can’t speak very well, or let’s say it’s a struggle. But I do know how to project a character into dialogue that I write.

It’s kind of like riding a wave. The first few times you get on the board you’re bound to flop into the water. In your writing, after a while, you can ride the wave of dialogue in your head all the way to a cool conversation on the page. You’ll know when you’ve found that place in your head, and you’ll say “Hey, I’m cool.” Don’t get cocky though, because it doesn’t necessarily make you an excellent conversationalist in real life, but your stuff will certainly read better.

eg. From my screenplay The Buried Moon.

ACT I

INT. BEDROOM – MORNING

A child is waking up in the morning. She gets up dragging her stuffed bunny with her and she gets into bed with her mother and father, crawling over her mother to get in between them. The mother wakes up.

MOMMY What’s the matter sweetheart, bad dream?

SAL Mommy, is the moon really a girl?

MOMMY I always thought it was the man in the moon. Why?

SAL Because she visited me last night, and said that she was in trouble and that probably I was the only one who could help her.

The mother looks worried.

MOMMY Another visitation. Are you sure it wasn’t just a dream.

SAL No, see, she gave me a moon rock.

She holds out a white opalescent rock for her mother to see. The mother takes it from her out stretched hand and looks it over.

MOMMY Where did you get this?

SAL From the moon silly.

MOMMY Sal, you know what I told you about exaggerating, it’s the same as a lying.

SAL But I’m not lying.

MOMMY I think you should go to your room and think about it.

SAL She told me to keep the rock a secret, now how will I find her.

MOMMY Go.

SAL You’re mean.

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What do I mean by the name Spec Scripts? A mission statement.

It means I’m available to write spec scripts in a variety of genres, topmost  amongst them being science fiction and fantasy in nature. In order for me to do that though, I have to convince the powers that be thatI know a thing or two about writing. So how do you propose on doing that Rena? By sharing my insights as a writer in weekly posts on this blog. So here’s to keeping it simple.

“It is very simple to be happy, but it is very difficult to be simple.”
― Rabindranath Tagore

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What is it that creates the boundary between fantasy and science fiction?

Well, we tend to think of fantasy as being where there are knights and ladies, dungeons and dragons, wizards and witches, but that’s not necessarily true. Barry Hughart’s book The Bridge of Birds is found in the fantasy section of most bookstores, but it is a fantasy of a China that never was. Many fantasy books begin in our time a slip slide away into another dimension where dragons and wizards exist. It’s interesting how all these other dimensions are stuck in the dark ages, and never seem to make it to our level of technology.

So I feel like the bigger the boundaries become in fantasy the more that boundary between fantasy and science fiction gets blurred. I’ll give you an example. I wrote a series of books about a mage named Raeswald. His world lives in a unique time of simplicity and is a world of crystal palaces and mages and a black goddess who seeks to rule the world of Avalon for herself. Raeswald is given a flying saucer type ship by an advanced spirit, and he and his companions travel in it to our world where there is a continent called Lemuria, which existed before Atlantis, where a technologically advanced lizard race reigns supreme on this small continent, except in the north where a simple people live beyond a great wall, and are ruled by a goddess named Tekal. See how I have blurred the boundaries between fantasy and science fiction? I think this is a trend you will see more of in the future.

There is no logical reason for this boundary to exist if we don’t want it to. Remember Edgar Rice Burroughs Princess of Mars, that’s an example of what I’m talking about. Only in his story, and in the Disney movie John Carter, it goes from a western to a science fiction fantasy. I know we see science fiction and fantasy together in our bookstores; we shouldn’t be afraid to put them together in our stories.

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