The Art of Dialogue

Courtesy of Netflix, and my teenage daughters, I have been sucked into the television series “Supernatural.” After a “Supernatural” marathon on Sunday afternoon—when I should have been writing—I had a moment of clarity.

It all comes down to dialogue.

I know, what the heck is she talking about? Well, as we watched episode after episode I was enjoying the action and adventure, great music and witty dialogue, and then in a particularly sentimental scene where the brothers, Dean and Sam, are having somewhat of a heart to heart, talking about their feelings and how much they care about each other my husband turns to me and says, “Jesus, are all the writers for this show a bunch of women?”

You have to understand that my husband is the original alpha male. He is six foot six and a retired Marine so he knows a little something about how men interact. But his comment made me realize that he was right. The dialogue in that particular segment was way too sappy for the characters and it took the viewers out of the scene. So much so, it had us all giggling instead of feeling the heartfelt emotion the scene writers had so obviously been going for.

Anyway, that led me to the realization that, for me, what makes a book or show work versus what doesn’t is the dialogue. Is it real? Is it genuine and fresh? Does it seem consistent for the characters personalities or does it seem like something that would come out of a fifteen-year-old girl’s mouth, not a thirty-year-old badass mercenary’s? You get my drift, is it believable? So, am I the only one, or have you had that same experience of being pulled out of the story?

10 thoughts on “The Art of Dialogue

  1. Great point, Dana-Mermaid! I actually pride myself on my dialogue – it’s definitely one of my strong suits. However, I do struggle when I have all males speaking, or I’m in the hero’s POV in general.

  2. lol. love your husbands comment. i have been watching the reruns in the morning on cable for a long time. probably on my fifth time through the series, not really anything else on and i watch it will im on the internet. guess that is how i got familliar with all the spooky, “supernatural” stuff.

  3. Thanks for stopping by! Kerri, you have fabulous dialogue! 😉 I agree it is hard to write a scene with multiple male characters, especially when they are all strong men, because probably 90% of what they are experiencing is below the surface. Men, in general, are not touchy feel creatures.
    Fundimental, my husband is hilarious and he always has a way of cutting to the heart of things in a way that makes me laugh. 😉

  4. lol…no the writers of Supernatural aren’t women (a couple of former Whedon/Buffy/Angel writers actually, but the target audience of the show is teenaged girls (not adult males). Therefore, sappy dialog:)…a given.

    I actually enjoyed Supernatural before my TV time got reduced by “needing to finish a book” time. But the show has the CW combos that have kept it on the air for nearly 9 seasons (like Smallville) – cute boys with super powers (not literally in the case of the Winchester brothers), but they can kill demons…

    Anyway, great post Mermaid Dana.

  5. Thanks for stopping by Denny. Now it all makes sense why my teenage daughters like it so much! LOL! I do realize the show is targeted toward a much younger audience than myself and not written strictly by women, but that particular scene was just so over the top sappy that it was ridiculous. It was just one of those moments where you sat back and said, “Really? Two men REALLY just said those things to each other?”

  6. Lol, Dana! I’d love to hear the conversation you’re talking about. Never seen Supernatural, but I’ll have to add it to the list of growing tv shows I have to watch. Great post!!

  7. Thanks for stopping by Pintip. It was a conversation somewhere in season 6, I think. It’s kind of all a blur at this point. 😉

  8. Hi Dana! I never had the chance to follow Supernatural but ended up sitting in on their panel at Comic Con this year and I fell in love with their characters! I think the one guy is the king of hell and his name is Bob! So I am right there with you when it comes to dialogue but I also appreciate fresh looks at things. I think sometimes writers take chances and it doesn’t always work but when it does, it gets me good too! Great post!

  9. For shame, Dana! There has never been a moment that the Winchester boys ever had dialogue that didn’t fit with the scene. You make me want to cry. LOL.
    My friend introduced me to Supernatural last year, and I went through all the seasons DVD by DVD. It was awesome. Now, I’m all caught up and hating that I have to wait like everyone else. 🙂
    But I know what you mean about having men speak words that they probably wouldn’t. NOT that I’m talking about the wonderful Winchester brothers. I would never dream of SUGGESTING that!
    The word wonderful is the thing my husband told me that men don’t say. I had a debate with some writing friends and some agreed and some didn’t. I had a male character “feeling wonderful” about something, and it took my husband straight out of the story. Who knows? But, I changed it. Now I say he “feels f#@$ing wonderful.” LOL.

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