Who said, “Go ahead, make my day.”?
Okay, smarty-pants. Who said, “You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”?
Oh really? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin' to?
Don't know about you, but when I read the above movie extracts, I find it hard to imagine any actor other than Clint, Mike or Bobby saying those lines.
Actors have personalties which they bring along, and this simple and obvious fact can be very useful for us writer types.
Here's a thought: let them star in your book.
Three actors who have starred in many of my short stories and novels are Sean Connery, Ray Winstone and Gwyneth Paltrow.
There's something about these guys – in my tiny mind at least – that prevents them from saying things in any way other than a way that suits them uniquely.
Okay. This is what I do: I cast a star or well known – by me – actor as a character in my story. When I write the dialogue, I picture them saying these words. Does this fit the actor? Can I see the actor saying these words? I will often change dialogue simply because Ray Winstone – for example – looks odd saying, “Could you pass the salt, please.” (I can see Hugh Grant saying that.) No, our Ray could say, “Pass the bleedin' salt.” Easily.
You see this happening in long running soaps. As they get to know them, the writers start to write for the actor playing the character.
So there you go.
I've found this tip very useful for bringing uniqueness, personality and consistency to my character's dialogue. And to a lesser extent, their actions.
Let me know your thoughts – as if they were said aloud by (the utterly fantastic) Dame Maggie Smith.
I'll be back.