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  1. Oasis Writer
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    Oasis Writer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Character Development Help

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Oasis Writer, May 22, 2008.

    Okay, in my story Angels of Aurora, I've been having a few problems with dialogue. I've gotten a lot of different responses, such as it doesn't seem like they would say that, or that it wasn't helping the story along a lot, or that it did absolutely nothing for the character development.

    So, I guess my question is how do I have dialogue that would help a character develop more? When I write the dialogue usually, I use phrases or statements I would use, or have used in real life. So, I guess I don't quiet understand how it would hinder my development if I really do use them in real life, unless my development is off too. o_O It's slightly confusing.

    Any thoughts, or suggestions on how I can make my question a little bit more clear?
     
  2. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    It's difficult for me to answer with any degree of certainty without seeing the writing in question - is it posted in the review room?

    One thing that I would say, though, is that you make mention of using the same words/phrases in your everyday speech. That may be representative of real speech, but not necessarily ring true for your characters.

    When I write dialogue, I run a track in my mind, envision the scene and characters - what they say, how they say it, even what they are doing as they say it (this doesn't all necessarily translate to the page, however). Each character develops a distinct way of speaking - to me - and is an extension of the personalities they've developed, which are quite separate from me and therefore they often say things I wouldn't dream of. :) (How successful I am at conveying that is debateable, of course).

    I hope that both makes sense and helps in some way - I assume your work is posted, so if you think it would benefit, I'm happy to take a look in the near future.
     
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  3. Oasis Writer
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    Oasis Writer Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you would like to, it is posted in the Review Room. It's called Angels of Aurora IV: Blossom in the Novel section.

    It does make sense, but I think I just haven't really worked on it that much before. When I started this venture four years ago, my dialogue was...well...rather corny and childish before. As I've grown, it's gotten better, but the newest drafts have gotten 'worse reviews' of the dialogue than the last. So, I was curious as to what it takes to make good dialogue for character development now because last times go-around was a little more acceptable than now, and yet, I know I've grown since the last draft.
     
  4. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    Ok, I'll take a look with that in mind. You'll have to give me about a 12-hour window, though, it's pretty late here (5am >_< ).
     
  5. Oasis Writer
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    Oasis Writer Contributing Member Contributor

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    lol - You don't have to if you don't want to. :) I'm patient in any case, but I'm just curious as to what to do. So confused. lol
     
  6. Al B
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    Al B Senior Member

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    Dialogue for characters in novels is not the same as dialogue in real life. When people talk in real life, they go off on tangents, get interrupted, miss the point of things, mishear things and generally do stuff that would not help a story unless the character was deliberately of that nature in your tale, or you were trying to write a comedy of errors or something. And one thing real people don't do is think about whether the language they use at the time suits the mood of what is happening. But as a writer, you can play around with all that, and use it to carry your story forward, either in mood, or in the information it reveals.

    So, dialogue in a novel has to have focus, be it focus on the mood, or the story or the pace, whatever. By way of example...

    'So what's the big secret?'

    'Oh, I don't think you wanna know about that.'

    'No, trust me, I really do.'

    'Well, I really shouldn't tell you, and I don't think it will help if I do.'

    'Look, will you just goddam te - I'm sorry, I didn't mean to lose my temper with you. I really would like to know. I need to know, and I promise I won't blame you, or freak out. So please, just tell me.'

    That example is somewhat cliched, but you can see that I didn't put any 'he exclaimed' or 'Jack slammed his fist on the table in fury' or anything like that. But it still managed to convey that one person was procrastinating and the other person was getting more and more pissed off at not getting what he wanted.

    The person who was procrastinating was getting irritating, and it would almost start irritating the reader if the tension doesn't break, so the reader can empathise with the other character's frustration at not getting an answer. This is better than writing ' Dave was evasive, and Jack was getting more and more annoyed, wishing that he would give in and tell him what he wanted to know'. Because that's telling, rather than showing.

    See?

    Al
     
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  7. Oasis Writer
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    Oasis Writer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you very much. You answered a lot of my question in my mind. I'm still a little confused about a few aspects, but I think that's really because I am still considered a new 'writer' and it takes growth to really know all the answers. Thank you for your help. :D
     
  8. Al B
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    Al B Senior Member

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    Like everything in this world, it gets easier the more you do it, so just doing something simple like the little example I typed, is the way to start. And then, when you realise that there is no magic required, just a bit of thought, it will become natural to consider those elements when you stick dialogue in. The great thing is that, if you like writing, working stuff like that into your story is really part of the fun, almost like hiding codes in what you write.

    Al
     
  9. Oasis Writer
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    Oasis Writer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Very very true. :) I'm sort of working on it right now, as I type. :)
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    how do I have dialogue that would help a character develop more?

    i've no idea what you mean by that, so can't answer that question... most of the other comments about dialog above are valid advice, but don't really address that, either, so i'm still in the dark...

    if, by 'develop' you really meant 'identify' or 'categorize' the character, as in letting the reader know something of what the character's background is, then that's a horse of another color...
     
  11. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    I suspect that most of your questions have been answered, or at least some things have been clarified. Since you are re-working the dialogue, I'll save any form of review until you re-post or edit... :)
     
  12. Oasis Writer
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    Oasis Writer Contributing Member Contributor

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    It may take me a while :) I've got a lot of little projects going on right now. :) Thank you so much though for everything.
     
  13. BrinkofDawn
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    BrinkofDawn Contributing Member

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    You know, what I think would help is to role-play it out with someone else. I think it's a good way to learn how a character will react not only to a specific person you want them to talk to but to any person such as strangers, family, friends, or a love interest. A character will react differently in front of everyone he/she talks to so try taking that character's personality and role-play it with another person acting as a stranger. Give that character a comfort level you know.

    Does that help?
     
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  14. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oasis Writer,

    Consider that the two main purposes to include dialogue are:
    a. to move the plot forward
    b. characterization

    Okay, the second one appears to be causing the trouble. It's not only the dialogue--words chosen--but also how the character(s) respond both verbally, actions (nonverbal or overt), and through thoughts.

    The trick (or one of them I suppose) is to show a character through dialogue rather than tell or lead the reader by the nose/be heavy handed.

    Also, if you're using phrases and dialogue that you use, do the other characters use differing dialogue...speech patterns, word choice, levels of complexity and depth? Although I suspect you are, it is a subtle but important way to bring a character along, and even show growth over the course of a novel.

    Terry
     
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  15. Oasis Writer
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    Oasis Writer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you both :D I appreciate it a lot.
     
  16. BrinkofDawn
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    BrinkofDawn Contributing Member

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    No prob^^ Hey if you need any more help with anything feel free to ask.
     
  17. Oasis Writer
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    Oasis Writer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I appreciate it. :) I'm going to talk to my aunt about helping me roleplay it out. She's pretty good at it, and knows my story very well.
     

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