Dialog, Fan Fiction, and Other Musings…

It’s an interesting fact, but you can make a day of running off prints into much less of a mind-numbing tedium if you’re reading fan fiction for most of it.

I have to say, my opinion has shifted upward a couple of notches. Nothing that can make me bray like a hysterical donkey that many times in an afternoon can be an unmitigated evil.

It did, however, make me notice something that I have occasionally thought before, but never saw demonstrated quite so clearly.

I begin to suspect that writing dialog is a different skill set from writing everything else.

In published work, obviously, everything has to be up to a minimum standard of quality, so you might have brilliant dialog with adequate…err…everything else, or vice versa, or adequate both, or brilliant both. But what really surprised me was the number of fics that I read that would have completely uninspired milieu, setting, plot, etc, just plain mediocre, even poor writing–and I would read it anyway, because as soon as somebody started talking, I was practically convulsing in my chair. Stuff that would make me pound on the desk and howl kind of funny, and it’s a very rare bit of writing, published or not, that can make me do that.

And of course the opposite is true. Something that could be up to adequate writing standards otherwise that just gets annhilated as soon as one of the characters opens their mouth.(Forget the fan fic–George Lucas, I’m lookin’ in your direction…)

And dialog is a deal breaker for me, apparently. I can endure bad descriptions, but I can’t handle bad lines. I did not know this about myself. Lot like comics in that regard–I’ll put up with bad art, but not bad writing, and so much of writing in a comic is dialog.

I find it odd that the two halves are so starkly separated. Because I don’t read a lot of unpublished work, the sheer enormity of the gulf never occurred to me, but man, in some places it is vast.

I’d always known that some people wrote lousy dialog–dialog’s a tough one, and some people just don’t have the ear–but it never quite occurred to me that sometimes it went the other way, and you could be a crappy general writer and write insanely brilliant dialog.

It’s odd, that.

I wonder why that works out that way.

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