Know how to write dialogue?
Read. Read. Read. But also think outside the box. Watch popular movies. The Princess Bride is one of my all time favorites for dialogue and one of the few screenplays that was written before the book was ever created, which I am told is really about the making of the movie so that makes sense. If you haven’t seen the Princess Bride, you owe it to yourself to watch this great film which is a fairy tale love story, if for no other reason than to hear some of the most quotable long-lasting dialogue of alll time. The movie aired for the first time 25 years ago. Lines that if you or I had in our books, would be remembered and cherished. Now what author wouldn’t dream of that? Incidentally, the movie was not an immediate success, something that should make all of the authors reading this take heart. I, myself watch movies for some of the reasons I read books, not only to be entertained, but to learn more about generating believable and entertaining fiction. Things like how actors portray emotion and dialogue for instance.In The Princess Bride some of the best lines are about love. “As you wish” spoken by the hero each and every time the woman he loves asks him to do something for her. He doesn’t just speak the words though, they are accompanied by an intense gaze of utter devotion that even the worst cynic will recognize. What he really means is “I love you.” In fiction this would be called subtext. Spoken by the same character over and over could be labeled as his or her catch phrase, a handy technique to indicate who is talking without using tags.
My favorite catch phrase was “Inconceivable!” spoken by Wallace Shawn, an evil bad guy who is so humorous in his dealings with his enemies, it is hard to hate him completely. He tries to outwit his enemies and one has to wonder if he is more business man or villain. Other famous lines are as follows…..
1. “I’m not a witch. I’m your wife,” by Carol Kane to Billy Crystal.
2. “Have fun storming the castle!” by Billy Crystal as the hero rides away to save his love.
4. “Please consider me as an alternative to suicide,” by Prince Humperdinck the villain.
5. And one of my personal favorites which seems to get less credit is the grandson in the beginning of the book. You see, The Princess Bride is a fairy tale and the grandfather is reading a book to his grandson to which the grandson objects, “Wait a minute. Is this a kissing story?”
So what doe this have to do with Irish History? Remember ‘Gone With the Wind?‘ . Margaret Mitchell wrote the book about her Irish relatives. Bet you didn’t know that. Rhett Butler said to Scarlet, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Funny thing is we really did give a damn about Scarlet .. and Rhett too. We cared a lot!
For more fiction ideas click on the tab ‘On Writing‘
Is there a memorable line in a book you’ve read? Do you have a favorite line or quote you would like to share? Please leave it in the comments.