Monday, February 27, 2006


This is related to “address and dismiss” but serves a different function. The best example is in the first Star Wars, when Luke Skywalker sees the Millennium Falcon for the first time. After it was revealed, a hush came over the audience as they took in the magnificent ship. Then Luke exclaims, “What a piece of junk!”

The crowed erupted with laughter, because that’s not at all what we were thinking.

This was George Lucas’ world and we knew nothing about it. There is no way we would have known that the ship was considered a piece of junk without that clever bit of dialogue.

One of the things that drives me crazy when people talk about “good dialogue” is that they never talk about how well it’s used, only how it stood out. Some of the best dialogue is quiet and subtle and reveals things about plot, theme, or character, with the precision of a surgeon. Sometimes that means it’s not quotable, but quotable dialogue is not the primary job of a storyteller.


Emma said...

Hey, I just found your blog through Brian Kalin-O'Connell's blog - this is a really interesting read, makes me think. Please keep posting! As an aspiring story artist I'm enjoying it a lot.

Brian McD said...

Thanks. Please keep reading.