Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Stuck on Dialogue? Ask Yourself These Questions

You want a character to speak, but you're not sure how to phrase it, Here's a couple of muse joggers:

1) What might that character say?

     Like real people, characters don't have the same interests. When your character does speak, what does he/she like to offer?

2) Why is this person speaking?

     Like real people, characters may speak in certain situations and remain silent during others. What types of situations provoke this character to speak?

3) Is this HOW he or she would say it?

     Like real people, characters use certain tones when speaking, although perhaps not the same tones all the tone. Is he condescending? Authoritative? Shy? Angry? Sad? Bursting with joy? And how does your character react in those circumstances?

4) To whom is this character speaking?

   Again...if your character is a child, how does THIS child speak to a parent? His best friend? His teacher? The school bully? (And the same is true for the parent, BF, teacher, bully, etc.).

5) If you're still having difficult, take another look at the character. He/she might not be fully developed. Of course, minor characters don't need the comprehensive development major characters do, but they shouldn't feel flat, either, such as the young lady in the selection below, her only appearance in the entire story.

And don't forget beats. The gestures your character uses when speaking help enliven and underscore the words.

Happy writing!

Still, Kellen should have eaten someone before their little jaunt. Control, he told himself. Control, control. John was performing in two hours, and he couldn't do very well if he was dead.

"Manicure, sir?"

A young lady was standing on the steps of the historical cathedral as they stepped out. A roll of music was tucked in her arm. She wore two braids. Her eyes were cast down.

Kellen and John exchanged glances and kept walking. John could do better than that. Moreover, the women paid him.

("Before the Blood, Kellen's Story," Chapter 9: The Suite Life)

No comments: