1. ickle
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    ickle New Member

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    Two different styles of speech

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by ickle, Oct 8, 2014.

    I'm currently struggling to represent two completely different types of people. One timid, one arrogant and rude. I am trying to convey this through a short dialogue about a car crash. Any help?
     
  2. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I'm not sure exactly what you're asking us for.
     
  3. ickle
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    ickle New Member

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    Basically I'm writing a small paragraph on a car crash that is mostly just dialogue. This scene includes two people. One is very shy and timid. The other is arrogant and rude. I'm trying to have a clear contrast in the two.
     
  4. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    What you are looking for is characterisation through dialogue. First, you need to figure out how to characterise your characters ie. portray them to the reader in a way they'll come across as real people rather than cardboard cutouts. This is done by a variety of methods. Describing characters visually and in their environment is the first thing, how they look, what they are wearing, how they move, talk, drink tea, all that gives characters a substance. Then you convey how a character thinks, how they react, how and who with they interact, their decision-making process, their inner world. This sets them up in context and gives more information to the reader, so they can start anticipating the kind of problems and reactions the character might have as the story unfolds. This helps the reader identify. Finally, in dialogue, you get to give them a direct speech voice. You need to observe, carefully, real people who behave or react in a way you want your character to do. Observe and listen to a real-life person. What are their sentences like? Long, short, loud, quiet, demanding, matter-of-fact, does the character speak with the expectation of being obeyed, is the character tactful or tactless, do they trail off not finishing their senteces due to lack of confidence, are they sarcastic, self defeating, do they apologise unnecessarily and take responsibility for things that aren't their fault? Etc. Human behaviour is a huge field, so many different characters. It takes all of us a long time to master good characterisation and dialogue.

    Write the scene. You are a writer, you need to be writing. Don't be afraid of not doing a good job straight away, but do put all the effort into it, and if you are still unsure, or unhappy with how it turned out, by the time you are here for 2 weeks and have 20 posts and 2 posted critiques in the workshop, you can post your scene in the workshop for feedback. It's always easier to critique something that is there :) Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2014
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  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Dialogue can do a lot for characterization, but in your case I'd probably instead recommend using the reactions of other characters to characterize the person as rude and abrasive. Of course, you can use dialogue to show the reaction, but you can bolster it other ways as well.
     
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  6. khawlaazwar
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    khawlaazwar Member

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    Ok, just wear two different types of shoes in legs. One of timid nature and other for arrogant nature.

    1) Let readers know their characters by the words they choose
    2) Their actions must speak about their intentions

    Really it is very tough, but just get some inspiration from other sources. How timid nature people react, and how arrogant people react, which kinds of words they use, level of their action up to both can go, consequences they can create through this accidents.

    Hope, this will be useful to you.
     
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  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    You could play around with this in the writing stage. Car crash happens, two people get out and the dialogue starts ...

    Jenny is timid. She says something. (Then write her speech.) (And what does she look like, and what does she do as she says it? And how does Chloe look, and what does SHE do as she hears what Jenny says?)

    Chloe is arrogant and agressive. She says something. (Then write HER speech.) (Including descriptions of her looks and actions.)

    Jenny replies, and she is timid. (Then write her speech.) (Including her looks and actions.)

    Chloe is now VERY aggressive. (Write her speech.) (Etc.)

    Etc. Continue in this vein, writing in how you envision each character's behaviour and the way they look—not hair and eye colour (! :eek:) but their facial expressions, their stances and movements—as well as what they're saying.

    Of course you will go back through later on and take most of these written tags out and/or make them consistent with the point of view character you've chosen. But if you make the scene clear TO YOURSELF as you write, it should get you past this block.

    If you tell yourself, in writing, "Chloe is REALLY aggressive here," I think you'll be able to write her speech so that's exactly what she sounds like. If she takes a step closer to Jenny, maybe even raises her hand as if she's going to slap or punch, that will reinforce the impression. She can also raise her voice—or even lower it, if that seems threatening to you. Her stance can be aggressive. How do aggressive people stand? Walk? Move? And how do timid people react to this? Do they shrink a bit, or step backwards, or put an object between them and the aggressor?

    Your task here is to make the scene clear. Focus on what you SEE and HEAR and try to describe these things. Try to see and hear your characters saying their lines of dialogue. Don't get hung up on writing fancy prose, or worry overmuch about your word choices, etc. Just get a strong visual/audial impression in your own head. The rest will follow.

    I pulled this picture into another thread about Star Wars, for fun ...but as I was writing this reply to you it dawned on me that this is a good example of physicality. I don't know if you remember this scene, but if you do, you know that Han Solo wasn't saying a word here, but he was telling other people to shut up and back off. It wasn't just his focused look and his warning finger raised, it was the speed at which he performed this action. The other people in the scene were under no illusions that he was at the end of his tether, and if they persisted in their activity, the consequences would not be pretty. It's this kind of thing you can capture, in writing, if you pay close attention to how people actually behave when they are having a confrontation.

    han.jpg


    Get these kinds of pictures in your head, and once you do, your characters will take over and say what they ought to say and do what they ought to do.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2014
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  8. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can remember being stopped by the police, so I got out of the car. He came and stood close in front of me, right in my face (and he was bigger than me), so I took a step back, and he came and stood...I walked backwards all the way round the car!

    Does that help with aggressive/timid?
     
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  9. Christine Ralston
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    Christine Ralston Active Member

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    This is something that takes practice. You have to not be afraid to get it wrong the first time. No one gets it perfect on the first draft. Be prepared to revise, receive feedback, and revise again, and more than likely repeat this cycle a few times. The first step is to get something written so that you have something to work with.
     
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  10. Machiavellian
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    Machiavellian New Member

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    As awful as it sounds, stereotypes can really help out here.
    Have the ruder one used more uncouth language typically associated with meat-heads. Have the timid one use extremely neutral language about everything (as if they were unsure about how to describe it.
    At any rate, I agree with the previous poster that sometimes, the besti dea of to have others describe it.
     
  11. Blig
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    Blig New Member

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    Someone who is rude and arrogant is probably used to talking over other people. Someone who is timid and shy is probably used to not being heard or would have a hard time speaking up, sometimes due to their own misgivings about themselves rather than experiences with other people. Of course, this depends on the individuals in question.

    Regardless, I would think the arrogant one would dominate the conversation, leaving little to no room for the other person to speak.
     
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