1. Cicatrix
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    Cicatrix New Member

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    witty conversations

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Cicatrix, Sep 6, 2012.

    Hello,
    I'm a new member so I hope I'm posting this in the correct section.
    Anyway, I am currently writing a romance story between two men who don't have anything in common but must live together. I'm writing about a gay couple because it's a real challenge, I'm female and not into men myself and it's a bit hard for me to sneak into their brain and understand their way of thinking. They simply don't act like women, that's a fact. So anyway, in this story, they fight a lot. But I don't want to write cheap arguments with insults, I want to make the dialogue witty. I love witty conversations (like in "The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, it's so funny) and I love "collecting" phrases/idioms to spice up any kind of conversation. However, the problem is that I grew up bilingual (German and American English) and even though my English is also very good (in fact, I'm an English teacher trainee), I grew up in Austria so German is my more dominant language. I can write very witty dialogue in German (because I know more idioms and simply more words), but writing such conversations in English is a little harder. But I want to try, especially because I like the English language more than German. That's just the way it is :D

    So...well, any advice is greatly appreciated!
    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Evil Loves to Party
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    Evil Loves to Party New Member

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    Since your characters are gay (which I'm assuming since it's a romance occuring between two males), you actually can write them like females. It is scientifically proven that the brains of homosexual males resemble the brains of females moreso than those of straight males do. And, in my experience, gay men tend to have more feminine behavior than straight ones. So it may actually be more realistic to write them like women.

    As for wit, I advise you to watch a lot of American comedy shows and comedians. You don't even have to go anywhere, just look up some names and plug them into YouTube until you find someone who has the kind of wit and humor you'd like to go for. Do not copy this person, but see how they make jokes by connecting things and people in real life to humorous situations and concepts. This is also a great way to get a schooling in American slang terms and such.

    Or, you can make up the conversations in German and then go back and determine their English equivalents.

    Good luck.
     
  3. AgonyDrum
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    AgonyDrum Member

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    iI agree with the previous poster, alot of american comedies specifically cover the "gay best friend" angle which would help with alot of the commonly associated idioms, just to throw out a suggestion though alot of; movies, books, ect.. utilize the witty overly feminine gay guy. If you made one of them a feminine and intellectually dim character while the other is a more masculine and wittier character it could create an interesting dynamic for conversation.
     
  4. TrinityRevolution
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    TrinityRevolution Member

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    Guess, starts with M...
    Or she could go the non stereotype route, not all gay people are feminine, just the ones you notice.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You ask how to write witty dialogue, but I don't think you'll really find a direct answer. It's like asking how to be a brilliant comedian, or an incisive political interviewer.

    The best suggestion I can come up with is to become a dedicated observer. Listen for and take note of interesting turns of phrase and crisp metaphors in conversations. Study the dialogue of authors and screenwriters who excel at dialogue. The writers of Doctor Who come up with some brilliant dialogue. So does American screenwriter Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly/Serenity, The Avengers movie). Screenwriters and playwrights are a good source because dialogue plays a much greater role than in ordinary prose.

    Please don't take the easy route and "Sparkle up" the speech just because the character is gay. Yes, there are simpering queens, but that is by no means typical - just stereotypical.
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm a gay guy, and I know a fair number of gay guys, and I disagree that you can write gay guys like they're females. Gay men, in my experience, are men with brains that function like male brains - the only difference is sexual attraction. I think you'd be better off writing gay guys like you'd write straight guys. If the reader can't tell from their conversations that your characters are gay, that's good. People who have known me well for years had no idea that I was gay until I came out to them. You probably know several gay guys you think are straight.

    So just write them as characters, not as stereotypes or as "gay guys." You'll do a better job, I think.
     
  7. marktx
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    marktx Contributing Member

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    This. This. This.

    (Gay guy from Texas, here.)

    Please, please, PLEASE...No more Step'n'fetch-it, Queer-Eye-for-the-Straight-Guy, Gay-A-List, humans-as-catty-commenting decorations. Please, please. I beg you. It's awful, it's tired, and it's all been overdone.

    Please!
     
  8. Padfoot
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    Padfoot Member

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    My novel I started out without considering my character's sexual preference, just recently I realized they were a couple. I agree, I would not write it as a stereotypical gay man. I think this can be hard, I'm a female as well and I do notice at times I've made my male characters too feminine, but that's only because of how my brain works! :D

    I'm not sure how you'd get a better idea of how they'd interact, I had someone suggest I research homosexuality. I have no idea if this would help, I thought the idea was a bit silly so never did it. You might find the suggestion useful though.
     
  9. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    If you don't know enough about the subject how can you write about it realistically?
    If you care about the story, the subject matter, the characters and your readers, you will do them the courtesy of making sure you have at least some idea of what you are writing about. Research can be a pain - it can also be enlightening and interesting. It is never silly.
     
  10. mcarss
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    mcarss New Member

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    I'm just another gay guy who's agreeing with this wholeheartedly. If you want to have realistic gay characters in your story, they shouldn't act flamboyant. Show your readers that they're attracted to the same sex. That's all you need. You don't need big, blinking lights with signs overhead saying "HE'S GAY!". ;)
     
  11. Padfoot
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    Padfoot Member

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    I am all about researching topics, it has to be believable to be entertaining. This just isn't an area I feel research would be beneficial.
     
  12. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    It doesn't matter what the subject is, it is vital that the writer is able to write about it with authority. You can only do that if you have a reasonable amount of knowledge.
     
  13. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just as a general question, how would you feel if you started talking to some guy at a gay themed bar, a pride march, or other gay event, and they were a straight male author doing research for a book?
     
  14. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Just write them like you would any other men, the only difference being that they're attracted to other men, not women. There's no 'here are a set of actions gay people do'.

    Do not resort to stereotypes. If you really don't know how to write about gay men, then talk to them and get their perspectives. If you still don't know, then maybe you need to set it aside until you really figure it out. It took me months of talking to gay people on the forums, and while I think I understand them better, I still hesitate to write a gay character out of fear of doing it wrong or falling into traps.

    And how do they talk? Just like anyone else, I would imagine.
     
  15. Cicatrix
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    Cicatrix New Member

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    Wow, thanks for the replies, guys!
    I definitely do not want to rely on stereotypes. I myself am probably the most "non-stereotypical" lesbian ever. When I come out to someone, their reaction is usually "WHAT? I'd have never guessed YOU to be a lesbian. I mean, you're so...girlish!" Well duh, I am a girl. And just because my hair is long and I don't behave like a butch doesn't mean I'm straight. The same thing applies to gay men and in my case, my fictional characters. They're also non-stereotypical gay men, in fact, they don't even know the other is gay until after several chapters.

    All gay men I have talked to have stated that they really didn't like it when people automatically associate "gay" with "pink", "flowers", "flamboyant" etc. I want my characters to be as authentic as possible, and the main focus isn't the way they show off their sexual orientation, but the difference between their personalities(their actions, thoughts etc.).

    I'll take some of your advice and start searching the web for American comedians etc.

    Thanks!
     
  16. Padfoot
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    Padfoot Member

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    I feel as though you're trying to argue. I stated my opinion, it's fine you disagree but there's really no more to be said. I gave the suggestion to the OP in case they found the advice useful, not to debate.
     

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