Friday, November 25, 2011

Yo-derp: a word on Yoda's dialogue

Since the Thanksgiving holiday is usually an occassion for cable TV to run a Star Wars marathon (usually on SpikeTV), I thought it appropriate to comment from a writing perspective. I love Yoda, but some of his dialogue is downright painful:
"Around the survivors, a perimeter create!"
It may possibly be the worst Yoda line in all the films. Fittingly, it comes from one of the prequels, Attack of the Clones, the lowly middle film between kid-Vader podracer and the one where Anakin gets all burnt up.

Yoda has his cute way of speaking that cleverly jumbles common wording:
"Always in motion is the future."
"Wars not make one great."
"Save the lives of the Jedi, we must."
But a lot of times, he says things straight up. The balance is nice. If he did Yoda-speak all the time it would be annoying, and we already have to deal with the fact he's a puppet.

Thinking over Yoda's dialogue makes me analyze my own writing. If I'm forcing a certain dialect, it has to be relevant enough to the character or the situation to be used. Too much of a weird speaking pattern pulls a reader out of the story. Yoda-speak is effective to establish his character, but it's annoying if he only talks that way.

Are there any examples you have of bad dialogue that have helped you craft your own writing?

Or if you just want to comment about Star Wars, that's cool, too.

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