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?