Monday, November 26, 2007

Odd Influences

For me, things that influence my writing and how I write can come from anywhere. Obviously, this book that I'm completing is heavily influenced by my 30 or so years as a cinephile. But that's only the tip of the iceberg.

Recently, I read something or heard something (see, I don't even know where it's from anymore), that when writing, as much as you can, have the narrative carried by dialogue. I had never considered this before. I like dialogue, and feel as if I do it well, but when I thought about effective dialogue, it was always in reference to film or scriptwriting, where you don't have as much time to work with. Following closely on the heels of this advice, I was listening to a book on CD by Lawrence Block, HIT PARADE. A great book, by the way, I recommend it. But what I discovered was that Block was using this device to masterful effect. Even sequences where our main character, Keller, said nothing, the entire thing was carried out in dialogue as Keller relayed the information to his "agent." It really clarified the entire concept for me.

Also, I was watching the extras on my BOURNE SUPREMACY DVD, where screenwriter Tony Gilroy (now also the director of MICHAEL CLAYTON) was being interviewed. He was talking about adapting the lengthy books for the screen and happened to mention that when he was writing dialogue, he would always remember to try to keep the characters in conflict with each other, even if it was just a shift in point of view. This would help to keep the dialogue dynamic.

Going back to this rewrite, I kept these bits of information in mind. The result, I hope, moves a bit quicker and makes the interactions more lively. It is morphing into something that I think is a bit more sophisticated than it was, and I hope that makes it better.

I'll let you know.

No comments: