Thursday, March 05, 2009

Why Doctors Can’t Write Dialogue

image So my latest fascination is with the brain. There’ve been all these books on the front tables about the brain for months, and I’ve finally started digging into them. The brain is really a fascinating organ. (Er, is it an organ? I am no doctor.)

However, tonight I’m reading about Sex and the Brain, and I can’t stop giggling. (It’s sorta reading like a self-help book, so I’m a little skeptical.) This is either some leftover adolescence or slap-happiness in me, but tell me this dialogue doesn’t make you scream and roll on the floor with its stiltedness and falseness!

So a friend of the doctor is talking to the doctor, and this is what he “says:”

“Daniel, I am so grateful for everything you have taught me, especially about the anterior cingulate gyrus. I am married to a woman who has the anterior cingulate gyrus from hell. No matter what I say, she says the opposite… Since I have listened to you talk about the anterior cingulate gyrus, I realize that her brain gets stuck and I need to ask the opposite of what I want… I’ll say, ‘I am going to the store. You probably do not want to go with me.’ Incensed, she says, ‘Of course I want to go with you. What would ever give you that idea?’ We are doing much better now. But I still have one problem. It’s the sex thing. It doesn’t sound right to say, ‘I am going to have sex. You probably do not want to come with me?’

Ohmigawd, I can't even make fun of it, I'm laughing so hard.

This is just me, but this is closer to what I suspect his friend said:

”That shit you talked about, that anti-coagulate-gyrating-whatever shit is so true! Now I tell my wife, ‘I’m going to the store. You probably don’t want to go.’ She says of course she wants to go! But god, the sex thing. I can't say, ‘I’m gonna have sex. You probably don’t want to come with me.’”

But it gets better. Here's how the doctor talks to his friend:

“I am very pleased you have learned practical neuroscience to improve your relationship with you [sic] wife. I have several ideas on how to get more sex with people like your wife who have anterior cingulate gyrus problems.”

Or maybe doctors never use contractions when speaking and always speak overly formally, LOL.

I could use this as a way to write about how to write dialogue, but sheesh, you guys already got that down. So I just thought we could enjoy a good laugh.

And it sorta reminded me of the stilted language people use in order to resolve a conflict “correctly” when they’ve been in relationship counseling.

Methinks all doctors should take a course in writing dialogue.

16 bonus scribbles:

StarvingWriteNow 3/05/2009 06:22:00 AM  

Methinks all doctors need ghostwriters!

Realmcovet 3/05/2009 08:23:00 AM  

That was hilarious!!! No, keep the doctors just the way they are. We could all use a good laugh!!

writtenwyrdd 3/05/2009 08:39:00 AM  

That is so funny! I know there are doctors out there who can write dialog that doesn't sound like a medical text with quotes stuck in randomly. But it is sure not happening there!

LurkerMonkey 3/05/2009 08:59:00 AM  

Ha ha! I've worked with a few doctors on writing projects before ... and bless their over-educated hearts, but NONE of them can write worth a darn. Because if they could write, they wouldn't be doctors, now would they?

p.s. So did you go red?

Edie 3/05/2009 09:00:00 AM  

Funny! You nailed the way a normal guy would say it. But I'd like to hear his wife's side. Hehe

Melanie Avila 3/05/2009 11:47:00 AM  

Oh, the things you find, Spy. :)

Robin 3/05/2009 08:59:00 PM  

I cannot contemplate the erroneousness of the assumption you create that doctors use stilted language, my fine young computer literate friend. I find doctors to be speak in a relaxed manner to both friends and aquaintances. They are particularly loquacious while playing cricket in Scotland with Dukes and Duchesses.

spyscribbler 3/06/2009 12:47:00 AM  

Good point, Realm! LOL!

spyscribbler 3/06/2009 12:48:00 AM  

Definitely not happening here, Writtenwyrdd! LOL!

You're right, though. Wasn't Tess Gerritsen a doctor?

spyscribbler 3/06/2009 12:49:00 AM  

Jon, I've got the red haircolor, but it's blonde red, not crazy-red. I'm really trying to get a hole of some copper semi-permanent, though!

spyscribbler 3/06/2009 12:49:00 AM  

I thought the same thing, Edie! HAH!

spyscribbler 3/06/2009 12:50:00 AM  

LOL, Robin! This coming from one of the very few doctors who can actually write! LOL! :-)

Barbara Martin 3/06/2009 03:10:00 AM  

Thanks for the laugh. These doctors must have missed their grammar classes.

Angie 3/10/2009 05:05:00 AM  

LOL! Definitely a crack-up! [nod]

I don't think it has anything to do with being a doctor, though; this dude sounds like every baby writer I've ever known, trying to write dialogue for the first time. :D

Angie