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Challenge Fifty Titles in Search of a Story | We have a winner! Congrats to divapilot :)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by ProlificWritersSock, Nov 22, 2015.

  1. ProlificWritersSock

    ProlificWritersSock Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Feb 3, 2015
    Well, I didn't fall asleep, but I got sidetracked and then I forgot to update the thread [face_blush]

    Week 17: Characterisation and character development

    Okay, we talked about narrators, points of view, voices, canon characters, original characters, now let's talk a bit about techniques for characterisation and character development to wrap up this discussion.

    Characterisation can be either direct or indirect. In direct characterisation, you the author tell your reader directly what your character is like, whereas in the case of indirect characterisation the reader must deduce the character's traits from his/her behaviour, language, environment, etc. A few ways in which a character can be revealed and developed, directly or indirectly, are:
    • Physical description,
    • Psychological description,
    • What s/he thinks,
    • What s/he says,
    • How s/he says it,
    • What s/he does,
    • What others say about him/her,
    • The environment s/he chose for him/herself,
    • How s/he reacts to a different environment,
    • How s/he reacts to others,
    • How s/he handles problems,
    • What s/he likes or dislikes,
    • What s/he wants.
    So, tell us a little bit about how you do it.

    Do you favour direct or indirect characterisation in your writing? Do you tell the reader about your character through descriptions, introspection, comments by the narrator? Or do you make things happen and let the reader form his/her own idea of the character? Do you use a little bit or both? Why?

    Do you approach your protagonist's characterisation in the same way as you approach the characterisation of secondary/supporting characters? In most stories the protagonist tends to be a dynamic character that develops as s/he overcomes the problem facing him/her, whereas secondary characters tend to be more static. Do you find that this calls for a different approach to characterisation? Why?

    How do you handle the characterisation of the antagonist/villain (noting that all antagonists are not necessarily villains)? Do you use your antagonist as a foil to better expose the qualities or traits of your protagonist? Do you tend to write villains that are defined by a single, major personality trait or do you like them to be more complex and rounded? How do you show this to the reader?

    Do you use stock characters, i.e. characters that have become conventional through their repeated use in stories, such as the mad scientist, the femme fatale, the ruthless businessperson, the faithful sidekick, etc? If yes, do you use them as background characters (again, defined by their major personality trait) or do you like to give them a story arc and develop them? How do you develop them, and how do you expose this development to the reader?

    Any other tips and tricks about characterisation and character development that you'd like to share?
     
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  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    I love to develop characters through three primary methods, protagonists, as well as secondary characters. Antagonists mostly through the latter two.

    1) Psychological description & what others say or think about them

    2) What he/she says and does &

    3) Introspection.
     
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  3. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    I want to weep. I had last week's answers almost done and then Chrome chernobyl'd itself on Tuesday, April 26th. Coincidence? I think not. The only problem is that it should've alderaan'd it, as this is the GFFA we're talking about. [face_cow][face_beatup]

    So, this week and then, hopefully, last week, before the next week starts.

    Do you favour direct or indirect characterisation in your writing? Do you tell the reader about your character through descriptions, introspection, comments by the narrator? Or do you make things happen and let the reader form his/her own idea of the character? Do you use a little bit or both? Why?
    Almost exclusively indirect. Things happen and it's up to the reader to decide what kind of folks they're reading about. Once again, I'm giddy when some people adore a character and some others hate the character. Recently, I had a character that annoyed my most faithful reader and another which a new reader dubbed creepy, and I am not sure why yet, but I love it! To me, that's a compliment. Those are the reasons I'm writing.

    In terms of looks, I will never describe a character in full, unless there happens to be a personal ad or police investigation. Puzzle pieces will eventually form a picture!

    Do you approach your protagonist's characterisation in the same way as you approach the characterisation of secondary/supporting characters? In most stories the protagonist tends to be a dynamic character that develops as s/he overcomes the problem facing him/her, whereas secondary characters tend to be more static. Do you find that this calls for a different approach to characterisation? Why?

    I'm not sure how common my approach is, but in my stories everybody will receive a lot of characterisation. This may be because I'm always working with an ensemble of leads, ensemble of secondaries, ensemble of episode characters and a bunch of folks who are like O_____o.

    How do you handle the characterisation of the antagonist/villain (noting that all antagonists are not necessarily villains)? Do you use your antagonist as a foil to better expose the qualities or traits of your protagonist? Do you tend to write villains that are defined by a single, major personality trait or do you like them to be more complex and rounded? How do you show this to the reader?

    I go by feel. I had idiot villains, morbid villains, pure psychopaths and mixes of two or more of those. I am not trying to fit anybody into anything.

    Do you use stock characters, i.e. characters that have become conventional through their repeated use in stories, such as the mad scientist, the femme fatale, the ruthless businessperson, the faithful sidekick, etc?

    I have mad scientists of both the literal and the more complex kind, but one of them is not a villain at all...just mad in his own way.

    Femme fatale - may parody them, but not have actual ones. :p

    The ruthless businessperson is how I see every other person ever, so...it would be hard to do this. I'm a hardline idealist and what's "beyond horrible" to me is normal to most. Hmmm...now I want to try.

    But the general answer would be no.

    If yes, do you use them as background characters (again, defined by their major personality trait) or do you like to give them a story arc and develop them? How do you develop them, and how do you expose this development to the reader?

    This is not the best question to ask a person who came up with a random name and a random thing for a fanon entry and then ended up basing THE ENTIRE ANTHOLOGY OF STORIES around that name and that thing. The character was initially a stock example, like those in RPG guides...but things quickly got out of control.

    Any other tips and tricks about characterisation and character development that you'd like to share?

    Nothing that I'm aware of.
     
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  4. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Do you favour direct or indirect characterisation in your writing? Do you tell the reader about your character through descriptions, introspection, comments by the narrator? Or do you make things happen and let the reader form his/her own idea of the character? Do you use a little bit or both? Why?

    Well, it kind of depends on what I’m writing. What I don’t do is have the character do something rather cliché, such as look at her reflection. (“I looked at the girl in the mirror and saw her long blond hair, the freckles on her nose, and her blue eyes.”) Or insert the description where it isn’t needed or where it adds nothing. (“She looked at the plans with her deep blue eyes.”) The characterization also has to align with the type of story I am writing. For example, in my diary I spent more time than I normally would have on describing the male lead because the female lead (who was narrating) was so impressed with his looks, so her comments really are a reflection on her. In other stories, the characterizations are more even handed.

    I’ll put in little things that give you a basic idea of the character. Of course, in the 50 titles challenge my main character is Mara, so you already know what she looks like. But I’ll put little reminders of what she looks like, such as a comment about her elegance or her dancer’s grace. Nothing too much.


    Ultimately, the reader makes his/her own mental picture of the character based on what they want to see. Personally, I think it's helpful to get an idea of what the author visualizes, which is why I love seeing fancasting of the OCs.

    So a little direct characterization, a little indirect. Often the characters reveal their characterizations by the way they interact with each other.

    Do you approach your protagonist's characterisation in the same way as you approach the characterisation of secondary/supporting characters? In most stories the protagonist tends to be a dynamic character that develops as s/he overcomes the problem facing him/her, whereas secondary characters tend to be more static. Do you find that this calls for a different approach to characterisation? Why?

    I find that the secondary characters also change. They develop along with the main characters or in reaction to changes in the main characters. I kind of use the same characterizations with the secondary characters as I do with the protagonist.

    How do you handle the characterisation of the antagonist/villain (noting that all antagonists are not necessarily villains)? Do you use your antagonist as a foil to better expose the qualities or traits of your protagonist? Do you tend to write villains that are defined by a single, major personality trait or do you like them to be more complex and rounded? How do you show this to the reader?

    I usually write stories where the conflict is “man vs self.” I don’t know if I’m much good at writing “villains.” In fact, one of the last villains I wrote I wasn’t really happy with. He seemed too rotten. He might as well have worn a tee-shirt that read “Bad Guy Here.” He was brusque, rude, sexist, racist – I think I overdid it. I made him loathsome without explaining why. Every character, including the villain, has to be in some way relatable. You have to have some flaws in the hero and something redeemable in the villain.

    Another story had a villain whose character was pretty much defined by his arrogance. I showed that through his disdain and reckless disregard for the feelings of others. His characterization was revealed through his relationships with others.


    Do you use stock characters, i.e. characters that have become conventional through their repeated use in stories, such as the mad scientist, the femme fatale, the ruthless businessperson, the faithful sidekick, etc? If yes, do you use them as background characters (again, defined by their major personality trait) or do you like to give them a story arc and develop them? How do you develop them, and how do you expose this development to the reader?

    Not really. If I do, I might try to subvert it just so it doesn’t come off as a clichéd character.

    Any other tips and tricks about characterisation and character development that you'd like to share?

    I find it best to describe the characters in terms of what they are doing and what others are thinking of them. Using action is much more realistic than just telling me what they look like or what their personality is. If I want to show that a character is in a bad mood, I will show him shoving something across a table or sniping at his wife. If I want to show that the character is afraid, then I will have her swallow hard, her hand shaking. If I want to show that there is sexual tension between two characters, they will steal glimpses at each other, they will notice when the other one touches them, they will unconsciously touch their lips or throat.


    I think the best ways to reveal the character is through what the character does with their hands, how they hold their posture, or what they show with their expressions.
     
  5. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Do you favour direct or indirect characterisation in your writing? Do you tell the reader about your character through descriptions, introspection, comments by the narrator? Or do you make things happen and let the reader form his/her own idea of the character? Do you use a little bit or both? Why?
    I use descriptions, introspection, comments and make things happening to all my characters

    Do you approach your protagonist's characterisation in the same way as you approach the characterisation of secondary/supporting characters? In most stories the protagonist tends to be a dynamic character that develops as s/he overcomes the problem facing him/her, whereas secondary characters tend to be more static. Do you find that this calls for a different approach to characterisation? Why?
    All my characters are developed the same. They form an essemble cast depending on each other

    How do you handle the characterisation of the antagonist/villain (noting that all antagonists are not necessarily villains)? Do you use your antagonist as a foil to better expose the qualities or traits of your protagonist? Do you tend to write villains that are defined by a single, major personality trait or do you like them to be more complex and rounded? How do you show this to the reader?
    The antagonist is well developed showing many edges added into the story

    Do you use stock characters, i.e. characters that have become conventional through their repeated use in stories, such as the mad scientist, the femme fatale, the ruthless businessperson, the faithful sidekick, etc? If yes, do you use them as background characters (again, defined by their major personality trait) or do you like to give them a story arc and develop them? How do you develop them, and how do you expose this development to the reader?
    Not that I know of

    Any other tips and tricks about characterisation and character development that you'd like to share?
    I draw or make a painting
     
  6. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    8905 words pulished and now at 13.439 words and about half way with my story
     
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  7. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2010
    I still don't have anything beyond the prologue that I posted in late March. My muse is active; it just prefers to work on my RPG and other things. I can't get my muse to even think about this challenge.
     
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  8. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2010
    For all of you procrastinators that are pushing tight against the second quarter deadline (e.g. me :p): never fear, WORD RACE IS HERE! ;)
     
  9. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Oh, and this thread will be back soon. DRL didn't help, the awards didn't help and food poisoning didn't help either, but since I got a week off work for being sick I'm hoping to catch up on this (among other things) by Friday.
     
  10. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    9201 words in Flowers of evil
     
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  11. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Okay everyone, I'm back and I even have replies for the week 17 (!) questions, but I'd like a few opinions about what the next discussion topic should be. Would you like to transition to something that's still character-related like dialogue, monologue and introspection, or should we go for something entirely different? Here's a list of proposed topics from page 1, but new/different ideas are welcome too:
    • Genres, tropes and clichés
    • Canon vs fanon: how to enrich the fandom you’re writing in
    • Storylines: canon-compliant, AU, time-travel
    • Dialogue, monologue, introspection
    • Description
    • Betas, reviews and constructive criticism
    Also, we're now in June, and the deadline for your second update is at the end of this month [face_devil] I'll PM a reminder to everybody asap and I'll ask you for an update on your chapter/word count.

    ------------------------------

    Week 17 answers: Characterisation and character development

    Regarding direct or indirect characterisation, I tend to use a little bit of both. I usually describe my character the first time they appear in the story, but I don't normally delve into their psyche or motivations and I try to let the reader judge from the character's actions or dialogue. In the case of fanfic, I could probably even do away with the description in the case of canon characters, but I still do it out of habit.

    I find that developing protagonists and developing secondary characters within a story are entirely different processes, especially in a plot-driven story. I usually have some background on my secondary characters, sometimes even a lot, but I limit myself to including in the story only what is truly relevant to the plot. Whenever I tried to include more character development about secondary characters, it resulted in an unnecessary sub-plot and the story became verbose.

    About villains, I've written all-around nasties (the Palpatine sort), but I don't think I ever wrote a story where this was the main antagonist, and I don't think that this sort of "monolithic" antagonist can actually sustain a long story. Antagonists with complex motivations tend to work better in my view, and I like to vary the driving element of their motivation from scene to scene. And, okay, I'm a sucker for the redeemable villain, which is probably why I like Darth Vader so much :p

    Another thing I'm a sucker for is stock characters when they are well-written. Many SW characters are exactly that (e.g. Chewbacca as the faithful sidekick, Artoo as the little helper, etc.) and I think that it's a very efficient way to give more personality to characters that would be fairly flat otherwise. However, writing them well is a challenge -- there's a risk that they become caricatures if you overdo it, or that they remain uninteresting if you don't do enough. Also, I never tried to use a "proper" stock character as a protagonist, and I don't think I ever saw that done outside of classic literature (but if I ever get around to adapting Astérix in the SW universe, I'll definitely give it a try!)
     
  12. Irish_Jedi_Jade

    Irish_Jedi_Jade Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 2007
    I like the idea of discussing dialogue. I know I struggle with that, particularly with formatting. If someone who was amazing at grammar and such (cough cough divapilot) wanted to throw in some brilliance about how paragraphing and such works with starting a new speaker, etc...I'd totally love that

    ///BREAK///

    I posted an update to Things Fall Apart today, bringing my total word count to 5,564. This is my second posting, and it contains 2,618 words per the challenge-approved counter. Now to bed.
     
  13. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Barely related, but from what I skimmed, your dialogue is among the best on the board. Just...who would think otherwise and why?
     
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  14. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    I posted an update back in the craziness of May, but I forgot to post here, but I updated Live and Let Die again and now I am up to 5743 posted words (and 3 updates).
     
  15. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Yeah, I like sticking with character-related topics. I figure most of us are still early-ish in the writing (or at least I am!), so it is probably at the most helpful.
     
  16. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    I would be most interested in the storyline category (I can always use advise and practice with creating believable scenarios, especially with tricky areas like flashbacks). I'd also be interested in the description category.

    I'm pretty much done with the story, just waiting to post so that I get the last chapter to fall at the right time of the year. The way I worked it out I should post the ending in October, I think. It's 12600 words, give or take.
     
  17. Irish_Jedi_Jade

    Irish_Jedi_Jade Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 2007
    I like your ideas. However, I DO NOT LIKE that I have to wait so long to read more of your story!!!! :_|
     
  18. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    I have to write more, now at the scary parts with the first part posted and have to get to the end. The wordcount is now 15805. The story will be finished and posted by the end of the year. I like discussing dialogue and storyline.
     
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  19. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Dialogue is one of my most favorite topics/things to write or read. :cool: The list of proposed topics is fine. @};-

    Flashbacks are also something that is fun to play with. JadeLotus and JediMaster_Jen are masterful at it. =D=


    ~~~!

    I have updated "Much Ado" with a post today, current word count is 1478 words.
     
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  20. ProlificWritersSock

    ProlificWritersSock Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Feb 3, 2015
    (reserved for week 17 summary)
     
  21. ProlificWritersSock

    ProlificWritersSock Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Feb 3, 2015
    Week 23: Dialogue

    Okay, let’s go with dialogue then. We’ll discuss monologue and introspection after this, and then move on to other topics.

    How do you use dialogue? Is it to advance the plot and move the story forward, or to pause in the plot and give the reader some breathing space? Do you like to use it as a tool to emphasise a particular point and build the tension, or to drop subtle hints of things to come? How does dialogue play into your characterisation and relationship-building process?

    What type of dialogue do you favour? Do you usually go for light banter, or for more complex, structured discussions between your characters? Does your dialogue more often than not tend to be a confrontation between two characters, or a tool for exposition of information that is necessary to the reader? How do you decide which approach to go for in a particular scene, and do you find that one is more difficult than the other(s)? How to you handle the balance between what is said and what is left unsaid in the dialogue? How do you handle silences?

    Character voice: We discussed a few weeks ago the importance for each character to have a specific voice that the reader can identify. How does that translate in writing dialogue? Do you give each character a particular dialect? Do you choose particular turns of phrase that only one character will use? Do you use dialogue to emphasise your character’s social/cultural background? Anything else?

    Realistic dialogue vs written dialogue: Dialogue is one of those areas where you don’t need to write complete grammatical sentences, because people rarely speak in complete, strictly grammatical sentences in real life. However, real-life dialogue can also be fairly flat when put in writing – readers will expect something more compact and to the point. How do you handle that transition? Do you write down all the dialogue and polish it later by removing what is unnecessary to make it more concise and adding any necessary description/action elements? Or do you write the scene first and turn it into dialogue later? Do you act out your dialogue to see if it works? Do you rework it to balance one-line zingers with longer replies? Any other dialogue-writing tips and tricks you’d like to share?

    Lastly, here’s the painful subject: dialogue formatting and punctuation. How familiar are you with the rules of formatting dialogue? Do you know when it is acceptable to insert a line of dialogue in the middle of a narrative paragraph, or do you do it by feel? Are you confident about where punctuation marks and capitals should go, or do you count on your beta to sort it out for you? What about dialogue tags? What is, in your view, the right balance/type of dialogue tags, and how do you use them to show what the characters are doing during the scene? Do you have a useful primer about formatting dialogue that you’d like to share?

    (Chyn personal comment: I know that I could use a primer about dialogue formatting rules in English, since I tend to follow the Greek approach and it’s extremely different!)
     
  22. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    First off, I think I missed week 17, but since it was so long ago, I’m going to just jump to DIALOGUE. Because I love dialogue. My first original fiction was ~30,000 words of my main character not speaking. It was an interesting exercise… in hell.


    How do you use dialogue?

    Dialogue, for me, mainly moves the story, plot, characterization, etc. along. I tend to write fics that do lend themselves to be quite dialogue heavy, but that’s what I like writing.


    What type of dialogue do you favour?

    It really depends on the scene and the emotions of the characters. If I want a happy, light, romantic scene, I’ll use banter, but if someone is giving a speech or clear instructions it will be formal.

    I also like to show through dialogue, than tell through narration, but that doesn’t work in all situations.

    Also, silences have a feel to them, so I describe that feeling.


    Character voice:
    In my first fic, I tried writing (phonetically) a character’s unique dialect, and I highly advise against it unless it is Yoda or a Barabel or something. Readers just get confused and tired.

    But I try to have the character’s background come through in their voice and word choice. Leia will sound much more aristocratic than Han.

    Realistic dialogue vs written dialogue

    I write (what I think) feel natural to say. Leia in a meeting will talk with much longer explanations than she will talking in bed to Han. But sometimes you have to ignore what is realistic to say out loud, for the sake of informing the readers (if you don’t want to do so via narration.


    Lastly, here’s the painful subject: dialogue formatting and punctuation.

    I fail at grammar, but I think dialogue is one of those things I manage to do the basics of well. I know the punctuation rules that are generally accepted [HOWEVER I WILL ARGUE that dialogue that uses a quote should go like this: “Did she really say ‘this argument makes me irrationally angry’?” BOTH ARE ACCEPTED SO I CAN DO IT THAT WAY. Dr. B told me so, so meeeh on you Dr. S (yes, it is way after my bedtime)].

    As for tags, again, I think doing what feels natural is best. If you only have 2 people in a conversation, you really don’t need a tag every time, but you also don’t want to confuse your readers. That same balance also replies for more than 2 speaking characters.
     
  23. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Dialogue - I love using it to elaborate on a situation or relationship between characters. To show what they're feeling, struggling with, hoping, etc. Also to deepen or express the process of relationship building between them.

    Tones I like to go for - confiding, encouraging, teasing, and tender.

    Formal versus informal - I definitely have some characters speak according to the circumstances or their personality. Mara will be more blunt than Leia and Luke warm in an informal family setting but crisp and concise when giving instructions to students.

    Formatting of dialogue - what I usually do is this way:
    Han observed: "I have a bad feeling about this."

    Leia sighed. "You always say that."

    "Yeah, well," he retorted, "There's usually a good reason for it too."


    [face_laugh]
     
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  24. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    I go by feel for everything. I had theory of literature at the university, but I prefer not to use anything that would resemble a trick.

    Regarding formatting, Serbian language has it slightly different in terms of capitalisation and we use a different set of quotation marks (German ones). My beta for most stories, Findswoman initially had to correct me in almost every instance, but I learned most of it now, I think. [face_blush]

    As for tags, I prefer to describe actions. Verb + adverb can get too colourful and not colourful at all at the same time. We may not depict words the same way and actions almost always look the same, if that makes sense. I guess different people have a different way of processing this, so this is, by no means, a dealbreaker when reading stories.

    If a tag is really necessary I mostly resort to "said" and "asked". I think I have a couple of instances of "yelled" and that's it.
     
  25. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    How do you use dialogue? Is it to advance the plot and move the story forward, or to pause in the plot and give the reader some breathing space? Do you like to use it as a tool to emphasise a particular point and build the tension, or to drop subtle hints of things to come? How does dialogue play into your characterisation and relationship-building process?

    Dialogue is for me essential to move the characters from this to that, explaining all about them.

    What type of dialogue do you favour? Do you usually go for light banter, or for more complex, structured discussions between your characters? Does your dialogue more often than not tend to be a confrontation between two characters, or a tool for exposition of information that is necessary to the reader? How do you decide which approach to go for in a particular scene, and do you find that one is more difficult than the other(s)? How to you handle the balance between what is said and what is left unsaid in the dialogue? How do you handle silences?

    banter is used and more complex dialogue, even mind-reading when it fits my characters. Silences are handled by a character doing some action or thinking.

    Character voice: We discussed a few weeks ago the importance for each character to have a specific voice that the reader can identify. How does that translate in writing dialogue? Do you give each character a particular dialect? Do you choose particular turns of phrase that only one character will use? Do you use dialogue to emphasise your character’s social/cultural background? Anything else?

    Characters can use banter and be compassionate. Some others are more formal or scary in their dialogue.

    Realistic dialogue vs written dialogue: Dialogue is one of those areas where you don’t need to write complete grammatical sentences, because people rarely speak in complete, strictly grammatical sentences in real life. However, real-life dialogue can also be fairly flat when put in writing – readers will expect something more compact and to the point. How do you handle that transition? Do you write down all the dialogue and polish it later by removing what is unnecessary to make it more concise and adding any necessary description/action elements? Or do you write the scene first and turn it into dialogue later? Do you act out your dialogue to see if it works? Do you rework it to balance one-line zingers with longer replies? Any other dialogue-writing tips and tricks you’d like to share?

    I do realistic dialogue with the action accompanying it.

    Lastly, here’s the painful subject: dialogue formatting and punctuation. How familiar are you with the rules of formatting dialogue? Do you know when it is acceptable to insert a line of dialogue in the middle of a narrative paragraph, or do you do it by feel? Are you confident about where punctuation marks and capitals should go, or do you count on your beta to sort it out for you? What about dialogue tags? What is, in your view, the right balance/type of dialogue tags, and how do you use them to show what the characters are doing during the scene? Do you have a useful primer about formatting dialogue that you’d like to share?

    Rules? I am Dutch and still learning through reading fics and writing my fan-fics.
    Tags are used when I have more persons talking. And with two I do tag often when the dialogue is long.