1. miss_darcy
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    miss_darcy Member

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    Character Dialogue

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by miss_darcy, Nov 8, 2010.

    Hey everyone! Long time no see!

    Anyways, I'm still working on my story but I'm having trouble making my older characters talk like they're older (aka my dialogue sounds too young for them). So I was wondering if anyone could give me some pointers on how to go about doing that because that would be a huge help!

    Darcy
     
  2. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Go speak to old folk you know. If you don't know any, go sit on the bus and keep an ear out for geriatric talk. One thing you might pick up, that is not so much about the language they use, more about their general approach to communication, is that they are fond of statin' the bleedin' obvious.

    Typical bus journey conversation:

    Pensioner X: Umm, pigeons.
    Pause
    Pensioner Y: Yes

    10mins later

    Pensioner Y: They're painting the old bridge I see (Note the not uncommon boastful element)
    Pause
    Pensioner X: Yes
     
  3. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Too little info. to give a positive feed back.
    What era are we talking about?
    What country is the story set in?
    Older? - How old is older? 20,30,40,90?
    All these things will reflect on dialogue, dialect and the use of common colloquialisms.
     
  4. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Be attentive and hang out with a lot of people outside a young agegroup.
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I use a word box - each main character has one it gives me words that character would use I wouldn't normally. If you use older sounding words and phrasings - pulling them out at random can inspire or provide a framework for the dialogue. Also just getting further into your story will get to know the characters better and they will start speaking more like themselves.
     
  6. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree. You need to know your characters inside out to br able to speak for them.
    Also, what is the relationship between the characters?

    Are they siblings? Is the elder bro/sis being dogmatic and throwing their weight around just because they are older? or are they nurturing and protective towards their younger bro/sis.
    What era did the elder person grow up in? I ask this because my grandfather was born in 1850, and he would say things like 'come hither' and 'afar yonder' and if he was annoyed he either say 'hook it' or 'away and fry your face'
    You need to know your characters better and like Elgaisma said, Keep writing about them, and I'll add thinking about them.
     
  7. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    When I do dialogue, I use (in my head) the voice of people I know. If you think about when you talk to your grandparents, for instance, it is a good way to mentally engage the age appropriate style of speaking. Also, get on YouTube and find interviews of older famous people to get an idea of diction and pattern as well as words said (or not said).
     
  8. miss_darcy
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    miss_darcy Member

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    Thank you for all the help!

    @Trilby: Yeah know that I look at my post I realize that I didn't really give much info! It was late and I was pretty out of it at that point haha. But I'm writing a pre-teen-esque fantasy novel and I have this group of evil doers who are supposed to range from I would probably say 30-50 years old (although the age of the evil characters isn't really a focal point) but I'm just having trouble with making them sound like that age group, I just need to be more attentive to the people around me (good thing I work at a grocery store and in retail!).

    @Elgaisma: The word box sounds like a brilliant idea! I think that will make my characters seem more real (I suppose that's the word I'm looking for). i just have to make sure that it doesn't sound like I'm pulling outlandish words from the thesaurus. But luckily English was one of my better subjects in high school haha.
     
  9. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Get a good Roget's Thesaurus. It avoids a lot of the pitfalls of an A-Z thesaurus. Just use it in conjunction with a good dictionary and the internet and I am sure you are bright enough to handle it lol

    I actually have a character that deliberatly sounds like he has pulled words from a thesaurus.
     
  10. InkDream
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    InkDream Senior Member

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    Go to a busy Starbucks or diner or someplace where you will be around people of this age group and eavesdrop. Pay attention to how they talk, how they address each other, their mannerisms, etc.
     
  11. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    One way to learn who to get it better is to reviewing you work. Take a piece you wrote a few months back, go through the dialog and identify what makes the older characters seem to young, and experiment, trying to find more correct phrasings.
     

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