1. Aurora Bell
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    Aurora Bell New Member

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    how do you get them to talk?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Aurora Bell, Jul 19, 2007.

    'lo
    wenever i try to get them to talk it sounds as if some one is telling them what to say. what thewy say is natural for the characters becuse they are based on those i know mainly holly lol (shed kill me for that! :p) i have the same problems with my characters for the trillogy as for the short storys i write
    anyone got anyideas as to how to nmake it more realistic?
     
  2. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    Here's a tip: People say they want realistic dialogue. But no one wants real realistic dialogue, because it's just not exciting. For example, realistic dialogue would be:

    Man 1 "Hey! Hey! Um, hey! Over here!"
    Man 2 "Uh- sorry, I didn't hear-"
    Man 1 "Oh, no problem- uh, you dropped your wallet, so I thought-"
    Man 2 "Oh! Oh, thanks, thank you! Oh, yeah, thanks. I lose this stuff all the time, you know? *laughs*"
    Man 1 "Yeah, yeah, I know, huh?"

    Not very exciting, or coherent, but it's just how people talk. I made the mistake of writing realistic dialogue when I was working on a novel a few months back and everyone thought the main character was just whiny.

    So: Don't write realistic dialogue, write exciting dialogue that's not pretentious.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    read more... absorb how the best writers make their characters talk... after you read enough, maybe you'll be able to do it [but don't stop reading!]... the 'maybe' depends on whether you've the talent it takes, as well as the commitment to learn...
     
  4. electro magician
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    electro magician Member

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    I've always found that one person can use all the verbal crutches they need, (um, er, heya, uh, doh!) but as long as one person is in control of the scene, knows what needs to be said, knows what needs to happen next or is leading the way to the next scene, it can work out pretty well. And then next time you can switch the roles and work it the other way.

    The question and answer aspect of it opens more doors to reveal the details of what the characters think about and who and what they care about.
     
  5. LionofPerth
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    LionofPerth Senior Member

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    What I try to do for dialogue is to actually visualise the scene, and then think of what the characters would say.

    The way we really speak it rather odd when written. So if I need them to interupt each other, I show it, if I need them to finish each others sentences, I show it.

    It's a case of trying to write a passive form of action, where expression, stance, even tone is important.
     
  6. Kit
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    Kit Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've never been particularly good at this point, and when I include dialogue in my stories it never seems to flow or sound natural...
     
  7. LionofPerth
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    LionofPerth Senior Member

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    Perhaps you just need to find the method that works, I've been told I'm good at action sequences, so that how I try to write my dialogue, I try to make things happen.

    I think, and this is what works for me, is to think of it as verbal action.

    What I think I am trying to say is play it to your strengths, i'm better at active/action scenes, so I use that type of perspective to write the dialogue.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Playing to your strengths has its merits, but rising to the challenge of your Achilles' Heel sounds like it would be better in the long term
     
  9. LionofPerth
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    LionofPerth Senior Member

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    I guess so, but dialogue shouldn't just be the spoken words of the characters, it their stances, positions, tone, and to a small degree, movements and actions, are they slouching, or leaning against the wall?

    How are they sitting, is it a on a table or chair?
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, in a verbal communication, only a small percentage of the message is carried by the words. I've seen different exact percentages, but these numbers I picked uo from http://www.incoming.com/WebModules/QueueTips/Question.aspx?ID=182 are typical:

    Body Language: 55%
    Tonality: 38%
    Actual words: 7%
     
  11. LionofPerth
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    LionofPerth Senior Member

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    Which I why I play to my strength at writing action, it helps me write the dialogue without it seeming forced, while not natural, it seems natural, the pair of them in the intro to Balance seem to behave just as they should, at least verbally.
     
  12. judesplace
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    judesplace New Member

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    I think this is hard for a lot of writers. I have edited dialogue that had me rolling my eyes. I personally feel the most important way to get your characters to have believable discussions requires two main things. First, say the dialogue outloud. If it sounds hokey as you say it, then rewrite it. Second, you must visualize the scene and both characters in the setting you've placed them. You must be able to put yourself in your characters' shoes in order to make what they say believable...and all dialogue doesn't have to be exciting. There's nothing wrong with ordinary conversations, as long as there is a point to it.
     
  13. LionofPerth
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    LionofPerth Senior Member

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    I have to agree.

    A rule I recently found I had was, Think it, Say it, Type it.

    If at any point it any point something felt off, I went and asked for some help. Of course, some of time it takes an hour to get a bit right, and other times, it only tankes a few minutes.

    Without the setting the dialogue is just a set of words without meaning.
     
  14. Kimberly Dawn
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    Kimberly Dawn New Member

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    Is that English? How about other languages... and it may be regional too... for example, people in California tend to talk more to get emotional connections, where in NYS they talk less and more abbreviated. There is also Black English Vernacular as well. That will also vary region to region... and gestures within the US (since that's what I'm most familiar with) will change as well as how much gestures are used between classes, etc.

    I know in Korea, Japan and China hand gestures aren't used so much. It's more dependent on context, which the speaker and the listener have to know. In this case what's important is the words that *aren't* there. (particularly Japanese.)

    Ahhh... but that's more language geekiness there.
     
  15. Funny Bunny
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    Funny Bunny Contributing Member

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    Language geekiness is the backbone of good characterization? I truly believe it.
     
  16. Nadala
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    Nadala Banned

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    My thoughts are know your character inside and out. The more you know about the character the easier the words come. I've had two characters for about five years now I know both well enough to know how they respond to diffrent types of things. What would rub them up the wrong way and what would please them. Try numerous character sketches and never be afraid to keep a character if the book they are in doesn't turn out right. They may just come in handy later
     
  17. Funny Bunny
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    Funny Bunny Contributing Member

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    Oh, a lot of my characters are the "strong silent types" and not real talkers. They never say what is bugging them outright. They rarely have discussions. I often need to report their feelings through another more talkative character. What gives with that???
     
  18. Nadala
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    Nadala Banned

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    LOL bunny the brooding types I've got some of those. It's just personality
     
  19. LionofPerth
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    LionofPerth Senior Member

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    Broody and silent, are we talking similar to Angel or something else?

    I guess it depends on the character, though I think the less a person says, the more they mean in what they say. For example a person who speaks alot will be better able to express themselves, while waht they say could be rather, superfical, that's not to say they'll never say anything profound, but it's rarer, when a more... silent type of person speaks the few woeds they speak have a greater meaning, or as I like to think, just because you can't see it doesnt mean it's not there.
     
  20. Nadala
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    Nadala Banned

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    I like to think brooding types seem somewhat stronger and more likely to be male
     
  21. Funny Bunny
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    Funny Bunny Contributing Member

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    I agree w/ Lionofperth. Much of what is actually said aloud is the real sham.
     
  22. Weaselword
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    Weaselword Banned

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    I'm aware of the study Cogito mentions. If I remember correctly, it was conducted in the UK.

    I think it's important not to be too realistic with fictional dialogue. A literal transcription of a normal conversation would make crap fiction, because in fiction realism has to be sacrificed on the altar of clear, concise, succinct communication. You don't really want a conversation full of "um", "er" and "you know" and people interrupting each other.

    I think every line of dialogue has to advance the plot, elaborate on the theme, show character, or otherwise serve a definite purpose. It also has to be clear in context.
     
  23. Milamber
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    Milamber Member

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    Hmmm i used to have this sort of problem with my characters when i first started writing seriously. But as i read more and wrote more i got over it. things have to flow right for me. if i cant read a dialogue without finding glitches then i'll sit there for hours until i fix it.
    Stephen King said you can't be a good writer without being a good reader. so reading heeps is a must for learning how to make smooth dialogue and almost all other stuff.
    That's my opinon :)
     
  24. Skipdonahue
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    Skipdonahue Member

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    Always, always, ALWAYS make sure there is an undertone of tension and conflict at work in the dialgoue and it will rarely fail, even if it's a positive conversation. There is such a thing as good tension.

    Also, make sure everything said either adds to the character or the story. Don't do meaningless banter. It worked in 19th century literature to show the native's colorful tongue, but it just doesn't work these days.

    Skip
     
  25. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Here's an advice, just write how they talk, and listen how real people talk.
     

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