1. s33point1
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    s33point1 Member

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    What should main characters talk about if there not talking about the plot?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by s33point1, Aug 12, 2012.

    I want people to really care about my characters but I'm not sure what they should be talking about if there not talking about the plot and there own personal goals.
     
  2. adampjr
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    adampjr Member

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    The weather. :)
     
  3. Reptile Hazard
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    Reptile Hazard Member

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    It's up to you, really. After all, you know your characters better than anyone else, so you should know what they like to talk about, according to their personalities.

    My personal suggestion would be something like the game they watched last night, or the new video game they got, etc.

    However, be sure to give these details sparsely, because the reader might get bored or not care enough about the character in question.
     
  4. Quinn T. Senchel
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    Quinn T. Senchel Member

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    They could gossip about other characters or celebs, or political figures. They could talk about their life or their philosophies on life. They could talk about history, or events that happened outside of the story. They could joke with each other, talk about their love lives, or their sex lives. Stuff like who their first kiss was, what they enjoy doing as a hobby. They could talk about books or their opinion on something that happened in the news or that wild party last night. It's a good way to get to see things through your characters eyes. Just think of what people like to talk about in real life.
     
  5. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    Yes, the weather. lol

    No but seriously, their lives, their pasts, jokes, stories, things that normal people talk about. Think about how you talk to your friends. Or how you talk to someone you're just getting to know. That kind of stuff. That's not to say that you should let your story get bogged down in meaningless chit chat, but injected in certain places, it can do wonders for your character development.
     
  6. fwc577
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    fwc577 Member

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    Pretty much everything should relate to some plot or subplot. I can't really think of examples where two people are just having a random conversation that in no way pertains to the plot or does any sort of foreshadowing.

    If your characters have nothing to do then you have an issue of a lack of sub plots.
     
  7. adampjr
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    adampjr Member

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    Or you're trying to include extra convos to fill white space. I personally don't like to read any dialogue taht does not either: a) relate to the plot or a subplot or b) tell me something new about the characters or develop them deeper.
     
  8. fwc577
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    fwc577 Member

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    Yeah, exactly.

    If it doesn't develop a character
    If it doesn't forward a sub plot
    If it doesn't forward a plot

    It shouldn't be in the book.
     
  9. adampjr
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    adampjr Member

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    When I started reading this post, because of how it looks, I thought I was in for a haiku. Boy was that disappointing. :p
     
  10. Tom Fletch
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    Tom Fletch Member

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    Not character
    Avoided subplot
    Plot also

    Remove



    I did my best to make it better for you :D
     
  11. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    I don't know... Every now and then I've been known to use a random conversation to set a mood in the story or to show the relationship between two characters. Not in what they say, really, but it prompts me to use body language descriptions that can show their reactions to certain topics or just the other character in general. If Sally said "Hey!" all cheerful and Jen's response was to cringe and look away, then that shows that Jen doesn't like Sally.

    So if two characters start talking about their pets and the funny thing that Rover did when he was outside yesterday, we can use the body language of one of the important characters to show their reaction to either the characters involved in the conversation or the conversation itself.

    Otherwise, my conversations are rarely ever "random." They usually start out that way, but they just about always lead back to the plot or subplots, because most of them are what's most important to the character, and the main thing that they think about. Character A has to Plot Goal B, so no matter how much Character C talks about other things, Character A's thoughts will always travel back to Plot Goal B eventually.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Don't use dialogue simply to fill up time or to report trivial conversation. Dialogue should always be used to develop the story and/or the characters.

    Good dialogue has layers of meaning. Dialogue is one of the most powerful mechanisms for showing characters and relationships.

    The literal topic(s) of conversation are the text. The message delivered between thew lines: what is not said at all, or lies in double meanings, or what is evaded, and thbe emotional context - that is all the subtext, which is usually far more revealing than the text.
     
  13. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Develop their relationship, or develop their thoughts and opinions on certain important themes of the novel.

    In mine, for a romantic scene, I had my two MCs do a little star gazing and talk about turtles :) to build up the romance and show the fact that their existing friendship is very relaxed etc. It's just a piece of silly dialogue but it develops something about the characters - that's what matters.
     
  14. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    What's in your characters heart?
    Whats his or her goals, desires, jealousies, envies, fears, interests, likes, mottos, dreams, secrets, failures, past
    hurts, past loves, things she/he wants to change about himself/herself physical or emotional?
    Conversation is a collage of things - past and present , and future wishes.
    Once you throw your character into a situation, the conversation should reflect what your
    character is battling, believing or maybe just something as basic as an interest.
     
  15. IsadoraZee
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    IsadoraZee New Member

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    reiterating what others said, if it's not fulfilling to the story, don't do it. I wouldn't want to read characters blathering on for the sake of blathering, that isn't going to make me care about the characters, or the story. Everything should be there for a reason.
     
  16. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Sometimes those times, with the use of dialogue, are when characters can find common ground. My time of that in DAD is a time where MC1 and MC1b bond and become friends by sharing the experiences the have in common while serving in either the military or military intelligence. Just don't use it for no reason or you waste the biggest bullet you have on your belt.
     
  17. marktx
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    marktx Contributing Member

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    This.

    Even when the text of the conversation doesn't look like it relates to anything, the choices made by the speakers should convey something relevant.

    In Hollywood, one of the conversation pitfalls that screenwriters often try to avoid is called writing dialogue "on the nose." What this means is that in real life, we often avoid talking about certain things, and one of the ways we do this is through the use of what looks like filler. So even if you're reading something that looks like inconsequential filler, if it's in a well-written piece, there is nearly always something going on behind it.

    Quick example:

    In the movie Hancock, the protagonist has just put the tipsy husband to bed and has returned downstairs to the kitchen, where Mary is washing dishes. The activity itself is a type of "filler," because she is really trying to mask and avoid the conflicting emotions she feels about Hancock. At one point, she complains that the babysitter never washes the dishes. Again, this seems irrelevant, and it seems that way because the text really is irrelevant--who cares about whether her babysitter washes the dishes?

    But the subtext is completely relevant--she is struggling to avoid the erotic and emotional tension that is clearly heating up in the scene itself.

    So even if your characters are not talking about something directly plot- or character-related, everything they choose to say (or choose not to say) needs to serve a purpose.
     
  18. Ferdinand&Alfonso
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    Ferdinand&Alfonso Member

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    I agree with marktx.

    I use dialogue to develop my characters as much as to forward the plot, and it's never meaningless. Think about it this way. If my characters only ever spoke to bring about the plot, what would my readers learn about the characters themselves? You need to know who is having the adventures before you can truly understand those adventures, basically. So every time people talk, I make sure to keep them all in character and so the reader ends up learning more about their personalities, which always becomes important to the plot later, to understand the psychology behind it all. Even when characters are having somewhat meaningless discussions, buried into the conversation are always traces of personailty and sometimes hints of my characters past--I use flash backs and little conversational nuances rather than just using the narrator to spell it out to the readers. Body language is important, too. Everything you learn about a character, as a reader, allows you to understand the plot better and therefor the story.

    That being said, of course don't just randomly go off into a meaningless discussion for long periods of time, no matter how much it tells you about the character. Readers will get bored and it just takes up space. Long books that are filled with redundant comments aren't any better than short books where every line means something important.
     
  19. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    I think most of what has been said is on point.

    Not sure why you'd want to fill your dialogue with anything but information relevant to character, plot, or story. What kind of reader wants to watch characters discuss the weather, or what they are wearing? This isn't coffee shop dialogue, this is a story and stories are much more interesting than real life conversation.

    And that brings us to an important point, and if it's already been addressed, I apologize, for I just skimmed through the thread. But, aspiring writers, such as myself, always attempt to mimmick real life conversation, or at least the subject matter, with the hopes they create a more realistic scene.

    Fragments, and mimmicking the way real life conversation exists is one thing, but the content for a fictional story is totally different.

    You want to keep it interesting. You want your reader constantly propelled through the story. Every word needs to count. Dialogue is a tool that should not be wasted on boring material that has nothing to do with the story. It should contain conflict, character, or points that move the story forward, which has been stated already.

    Don't fall into what I call the, "coffee shop" dialogue trap. It will make your reader put the book down.
     
  20. ArtWander
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    ArtWander Contributing Member

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    I think that Kurt Vonnegut put it best:

    - Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.
     
  21. GoldBat18661
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    GoldBat18661 New Member

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    As stated above, the reader will not want to read endless, "Oh, and then this happened and that happened and blah blah blah," that has absolutely nothing to do with the story, but a few lines of dialogue is fine, and it may help to show friendship between characters.

    For example:

    Anna was organizing the many trinkets sitting on the dresser, her back to Peter. "So..." She said, trying to think of something to say. "David tried to kiss me today."
    "Oh really?" He said, barely glancing up from his book. "What did you do?"
    Anna grinned. "I punched him in the stomach."
    "That's my girl."
     
  22. Shayla
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    Shayla Member

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    It depends what's happening in the story. Talk about what they see, how they feel that day, what they're literally doing!
     

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