I need your help. I'm a writer. Well, filmmaker. Well... let's just say storyteller. I've quit all my day jobs and am finally focusing on telling stories. I was afraid I wouldn't have enough ideas but that, as it turned out, is not a problem at all. Fortunately. But lately I've realised that I have an even bigger problem than I feared: I don't write dialogue. I – or at least my creative subconscious – seem to avoid it at all costs. I have wonderful ideas for music videos, for short films that have the most impact without spoken word, for short stories that really don't need any more than one or two lines of dialogue.
So I lay awake last night wondering why that is. And I arrived at the conclusion that it's your fault. Yes, you read right. See, I am a huge fan of your work; and one of the things you do really well is dialogue. I think you write truly fantastic dialogue. It's funny and deadpan and conveys so many layers of meaning in text and subtext. That's great. I mean, it's great for you. Not so much for me, because it makes me completely and utterly scared to write dialogue. Every single line I write makes me cringe. To my ears it sounds so trivial, unimportant, un-heavy with meaning. And because this isn't only supposed to be a not-so-silent reproach on how you are too awesome to live up to but also a cry for help, here's my question: How the hell does one write dialogue?
I'm beginning to think it's a different species than narration but I can't figure out what to feed it exactly. On one hand it's supposed to convey everyday conversation, right? People in my stories would rely on the same words that every real-life person relies on. But to be honest, real life conversation does sound trivial once you put it on a piece of paper or on a screen. So I'd try to spruce it up, but then it just sounds fucking contrived.
I realise that in some way you avoided that problem by crafting a whole new style of speech for Buffy and the Scoobies, but you've got to have some input for me. Please?
I want to be able to write dialogue. Things are boring without dialogue. Characters are less well rounded. They can not express themselves, literally can't if I don't let them open their mouths. Please help my characters learn to talk. They would be eternally indebted to you.
P.S. I hope you don't mind that I just totally used you for part of my daily word count goal.