Friday, November 6, 2009

Witty Writing & Dialogue

Posted by Bethany at November 06, 2009
Morning All,

Once again a clear beautiful day! I can hardly believe all week long it's been like this, but hey, that's pretty awesome (although there's talk in the weather news that rain might be coming). I think I'll chant: COOLER TEMPERATURES! COOLER TEMPERATURES! Hee hee. Not that 70's are so bad, that's actually pretty good, just that I love cold weather (not enough to live where snow is deep but enough that I like to bundle up and at night cuddle up under layers of warm blankets). But really, the weather's been nice.

Georgette Heyer (died in 1971) wrote both mystery and romance. I haven't read her mysteries, but as far as I'm concerned, her romance writing was great. If you haven't read These Old Shades, even one of my brothers-in-law liked that one. (Pretty much both me and most of my sisters have read and loved this one).

One of my sisters who's incredibly observant and noticed that in one part of this story where it's meant to say that someone opened the door and another person went through it the opening, it says: "Leonie opened the door and the Duke passed out." Pretty funny, whether intended that way or not.

But Heyer is more than just a mild slip of the pen in description (perhaps intentional slip of the pen), she also has witty and fun characters (particularly Sophy in The Grand Sophy). And it's more than just romance in her romance novels, it's a story, dialogue and characters. Characters that may seem one way to each other, but are actually so much more than what the first impression renders (in the grand tradition of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice) in the sense that you can't always be sure you know a person's character completely from one meeting or from some thoughtless statement.

However, what makes a witty character? What makes for clever dialogue?

Sometimes it's a matter of putting in your own sense of humor to see if it works. Or drawing from other novels you've read.

How about you? What makes for a witty character and clever dialogue? How do you incorporate those things into your own stories?

For me it usually means drawing upon my own goofy sense of humor and what I think is funny. Sometimes it's just a matter of having a character who dares to push the limits (like in the original draft of Conjure A Man where Caruso flirts with a member of The High Counsel just because he has the capacity and doesn't really give a care what they think--yes, I had to cut that because I ended up rewriting to fix up the story and then again to fix Delaney's character).

So your turn--What makes for clever and witty dialogue and characters? What about funny descriptions?

Have A Funny Friday!


Marsha Sigman on Friday, 06 November, 2009 said...

Sarcasm is my secret weapon. Its such a large part of my voice that its hard to not go with it. I am sending you an email about tomorrow with details that I don't want to post here, so check it when you get a chance!

Joshua McCune on Friday, 06 November, 2009 said...

The line between witty and annoying is a fine one, and one hard to learn, methinks.

Bethany on Friday, 06 November, 2009 said...


No problemo. I got the email and replied.

Sarcasm definitely works.

Bethany on Friday, 06 November, 2009 said...


LOL, I'd probably annoy you LOL. (Okay, hopefully I wouldn't, but I don't know since I don't know you well).

But yeah, you do have a point. :-)


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