1. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    how do you deal with people fighting?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Tesoro, Sep 13, 2011.

    I am talking the verbal kind, people arguing ex. husbands and wives, or friends or family or whatever... do you just summarize or do you write them out in dialogue? I have a problem with it and I don't know how to approach this because in my current story there are a few occasions when this happens, and in one way I would like to show them because certain issues pop up that describes which kind of relationship these people have, but I don't know how to write them in a good way, without too many bad words, insulting etc. Does anyone have an example on a book where the author have succeeded with this, or should I approach it another way? I cannot remember having read any scenes of this kind, so I honestly don't know what to do. Please help!
     
  2. AfterBroadway
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    AfterBroadway Senior Member

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    I believe Richard Yates and Raymond Carver are good at this sort of thing. I think it could be achieved easily if you are careful with your word choice and observe accurately how people really do act during a verbal fight. A lot of times writing any sort of fight will lead to repetition of certain words, so be careful with that.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Carver is very good at it. I think going through some of his stories to see how he handles it is a good idea.
     
  4. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    yes, I know, but it feels like there is a bigger issue than just the writing it out in dialogue, because it feels so... it feels like something I shouldn't render, if you know what i mean. and maybe it isn't even relevant, maybe it's enough to just make it clear they're fighting? I simply don't know how to handle this situation in my writing. Thanks for the tips, I'll check out Carver. If anyone else has ideas or suggestions, please keep posting.
     
  5. will565
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    will565 Member

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    A really excellent book that deals with those kinds of issues is 'The Slap' by Christos Tsiolkas. He writes about the kinds of relationships you are describing and creates a really fine tuned, realistic feel to the kind of thing in that he portrays them fighting but nobody is exactly a 'bad person', they just have flaws.
     
  6. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    thanks for the tips, I will see if I can find it somewhere to have a look at it. :)
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm puzzled as to why you wouldn't want to write the insulting bits - surely that can be a core part of arguing? I'd be more concerned about not wanting to write the boring repetitive bits, because people do tend to make the same point over and over (and over and over and over) when arguing.

    But if, for example, one of your characters is willing to say something that cuts to the core of someone else's feelings, to win an argument, that's an important part of that character's personality. I think that it would be near impossible to communicate the impact of that moment with a summary.

    ChickenFreak
     
  8. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree, it's not that I don't want to, as I said in the first post (?) I don't want to summarize it because it also revelas stuff about the characters and their relationship. BUT I don't know how to write it well, so that it won't sound too... I don't know the right word for it, but when you for example write dialogue you don't write exactly what they would say (because that would be boring and take forever to get to the point) you just concentrate it but I don't know how to do that with the insults and stuff, I wanna make it sound plausible without being the exact words they would use (some of those things might not even be appropriate to write) plus how I should show the tone and make it clear someone is screaming/crying etc. I'm more worried about the technique to use than what they say. I found the book that will565 suggested and I will have a look at it tonight. maybe it will illuminate me on how to deal with this.
     
  9. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Dialogue. Dialogue dialogue dialogue...dialogue is HUGE in a fight scene. Don't leave it out and just summarize it. Also, pad your dialogue with mentions of their body language, actions, etc. This will show that the characters are angry, in addition to the proof from what they're saying.
     
  10. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    good point mallory, i think I often forget about the gestures and body language etc when i write dialogue.
     
  11. Toxic Black
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    Toxic Black Member

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    When people are fighting verbally then often speak forcefully and quickly. Their voice may become higher in pitch and become more strained due to stress, or they may clench their teeth when they speak. People who are fighting often interrupt eachother, speaking over the other in a loud voice to make their point heard. Also they eyes may narrow distastefully and the fist may come up as a warning. There are lots of different ways of expressing anger without physical violence.
     
  12. ShortBus
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    ShortBus Member

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    i think that animation comes out with emotions. one could not say a word but you know that he/she is super pissed off. a ! can only do so much so you have to use your words as well as describe the intricacies of ever action that comes with the emotion. facial expressions say a lot as well as posture and body positioning. you might want to look into casting call auditions and watch how actors go from normal to emotional and then back to normal in a split second. and what may be better is look up fight videos on youtube or something and really watch the people. find commonalities in what people do when they get in a heated argument.

    dont just watch, look.
     
  13. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    Said it for me.

    How I decide whether or not to go into detail is this- If I were in the situation would I notice them fighting? Would I have a vested interest in what is being said? For example, if I'm at the store and I hear a couple arguing I will most likely ignore it unless I feel there is a danger of someone being hurt. That is an instance where I would summarize and treat it as white noise. In a situation where I'm in an argument with someone I would be paying close attention to what is being said. Or if a friend or family member were fighting.

    I've had some nasty fights in my house growing up so fighting dialogue isn't difficult for me. I draw from that and my own fights with others in the past. When you write two characters fighting stay true to their personalities. Someone who is very even tempered will not be antagonistic. Someone who has a bad temper will likely go for the jugular in a fight (verbally and emotionally speaking).
     

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