– or In Which Emily Links You To Many Videos, Part 2 –
BACK TO VIDEO GAMES. Or, at least, back to Extra Credits.
This is an excellent video in the context of video games, but it also an incredible resource for writers in general. There is…not much I can say by way of improving this argument, nor do I really have an opinion on it besides the fact that it’s excellent.
I guess the only thing I have to say is that dialogue should sound like someone is talking. That sounds obvious, but really, your characters should feel like real people. In this video, the presenter talk about acting out your dialogue. This makes sense for video games, but I would also argue that it’s vital to any writing process.
If you write a really elaborate and vital piece of dialogue, and just leave it, you have no idea if the dialogue sounds natural (especially if it’s expository). I frequently have trouble with this, so, I read my passages out loud. This helps, but I really think acting out what your characters are saying, even doing, can help you determine what is natural, and what seems a bit off. It will also allow you to see how others interpret things. For example, say you wrote the following piece of dialogue:
“I can’t believe you,” Amanda said angrily. “What, did you think I wouldn’t find out?”
If you have someone else read through this, you can hear what tone their voice takes on for ‘angry.’ What expressions do they make? Are they gesturing? How? You can describe this character and her dialogue so much better if you have an idea of the gestures and expressions that convey anger. So, you revise:
“I can’t believe you,” Amanda growled, throwing her hands up in the air. Her mouth was set in a harsh frown, her eyebrows furrowed, and her teeth looked on edge. “What, did you think I wouldn’t find out?”
This conveys so much more emotion than just the word angry. Of course, this requires you to have super enthusiastic friends, who get into acting things out, and you shouldn’t over describe, but it can be such a useful tool to have in your tool belt.
With that said, please, please watch the video in this post (it may bleed out of the margins again, for which I apologize) and go check out Extra Credits. If I haven’t said it enough, those guys are awesome.