Tuesday, February 2, 2010

BOOK CLUB: Verbal Fightfest (Ch. 27)

[Today we're reading Ch. 27 Dialog is a Piece of the Action, from Aristotle's Poetics for Screenwriters, by Michael Tierno (2002).]

Aristotle had an interesting concept on how to construct dialogue. He called it a dialectic.

1st – A makes a statement (thesis): “You drive slower than my grandmother.”
2nd – B makes the opposite statement (anti-thesis): “Your grandmother is dead.”
3rd – The 2 statements collide and form a synthesis & we start all over again. “Exactly.”

Because of the clash, it is action and moves the story forward.

This is different from conversation which doesn’t really go anywhere.

C – “That’s a nice sweater.”
D – “I got it at a rummage sale.”
C – “Cool.”

The author suggests mixing dialectic (action dialog) & conversation in varying degrees for an interesting mix.

WHAT I’VE LEARNED: Whenever I see on the nose dialogue, it’s almost always conversation rather than dialectic.

[DISCLAIMER: I have not been asked, nor paid, to read or comment on this book.]

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