Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Pains and Perils of Reviewing Proofs – Part II

In my previous post I talked about how crucial it is to read your proofs out loud.

One of the most important reasons for this is to make sure that your dialogue rings true.

Ah, dialogue.

When you read out loud, the pace of the dialogue, the pauses, become apparent. As does the phrasing.

More than likely, you'll find some places where your dialogue doesn’t sound quite right. It’s ineffable how you know, but you just do.

Here’s a way to try and discover where the problem lies: Try reading out the dialogue simply as dialogue, as you would in a play. No “he or she saids”. No descriptions of action in-between. Just dialogue.

If you can’t tell who is saying what, you need to fix your dialogue.

If the voice sounds stilted, if it doesn’t sound natural, the way someone might actually say it--if the flow isn't right--your dialogue needs fixing.

Also, try acting out the piece to see if you can get the dialogue to reflect the thoughts and feelings of your character--to show what he/she wants to convey, as well as what she/he wants to hide. In other words, the text and the subtext.

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