Writer's Challenge 3 - Dialogue and defining characters

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Kit', Dec 3, 2003.

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  1. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    This challenge comes from Cheveyo who remembered this little gem from his high school writing class.

    Challenge: Character Development

    Using Dialogue only, define a character.

    This includes their personal likes and dislikes, their apperance, their character, their attitude ect.

    This is about defining and giving a character dimensions without using the normal physcial descriptions.


    [link=] Link to Writer's Challenge Two [/link]

    [link=] Link to Challenge 4 [/link]
  2. _3MD_PsychoSniper

    _3MD_PsychoSniper Jedi Youngling star 4

    Oct 25, 2003
    'ats easy just do like I did in HS, write someone desctribing the person to a police sketch artist or a newspapper reporter.
  3. Cheveyo

    Cheveyo Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Oct 29, 2001
    Hey, that's cheating, 3MD. ;)

    I thought maybe I should jump on this, since I offered it up. Remember, it's not about physical descriptions, it's about getting to know the character.

    Here's mine:
    fan fic challenge 3: Dialogue and Defining Characters

    [u][b][color=darkblue]The Rumor Mill[/color][/u][/b]

    "You don't know what you're talking about."

    "Oh, come on, Binn, don't be so defensive. You know--"

    "I know enough to keep my mouth shut; something you apparently know little about. And it's Colonel, to you."

    "Don't get so snippy, [i]Colonel[/i]. We went through the Academy together. I know you better than your mother does. And I'm telling you, you shouldn't be so worried about ridiculous rumors."

    "Listen Dayn, I've worked too hard to crawl my way up the echelons of this army. I'm not going to let some have witted drunkard ruin my career because he won't keep his mouth shut. I'm due to make High Colonel."

    "Wait a minute, Binn...Colonel. Lieutenant Khat is no drunkard. He's a fine officer and an asset to this Empire. He was only repeating what he heard, so don't go after him."

    "Then who did [i]he[/i] hear it from, Dayn?"

    "Don't look at me like that, Binn. Threats may work on your subordinates, but not on me."


    "Alright, I may have mentioned something in a sabaac game last week. You know how guys prattle on when they're bluffing."

    "Calling me a turncoat is idle prattle?"

    "I didn't exactly say turncoat."

    "Then what [i]did[/i] you call me?"

    "Um... seditious fanatic."

    "Oh yes, I see that's much better than 'turncoat'."

    "Come on, Binn, it was a joke among officers. Are you telling me you didn't call any of your SO's names as you 'crawled your way up the echelons'?"

    "Don't mock me."

    "Do you see now how ridiculous all this is?"

    "I suppose. But do understand what would happen to me of the General heard of this? Or worse, Lord Vader?"

    "Don't say that name. Just the thought of that freak makes my skin crawl."

    "Those aren't the words of a loyal Imperial officer, Dayn."

    "Are you kidding, I think the only person who'd disagree with me is the Emperor, himself! Vader is a walking ghoul. He can't breathe on his own, but he can kill you with a finger."

    "A finger? Be serious."

    "His pinky."

    "Thanks, Dyan. I needed the laugh."

    "My pleasure, Colonel. Is there anything else I can do for you?"

    "One more thing, Dayn. Who else did you tell your sedition joke to?"

    "Just you, my friend. Like I said, don't worry about it."

    "I won't."

    "Whoa! Binn, holster that sidearm! What are you doing?! No!! Don't----!!"

    "Sorry, Dayn. I really am. Now what was that comm frequency? 6-R-3-3-0-T-4...."


    "Yes. Your signal is weak, can you read me?"

    "Affirmative, sir."

    "Very good. Advise your superiors that the situation here has been dealt with. Both officers have been dispatched, and the leak has been plugged. I'm departing Coruscant within the hour."

    "I trust you have your story in place?"

    "Of course. I'm to attend an awards ceremony on Garris 2, hosted by the local senator there."

    "We promise, sir, that you will not make it to Garris 2."

    "Very good, see to it. Binn out."

    "Welcome to the Rebellion, Colonel."


  4. Laine_Snowtrekker

    Laine_Snowtrekker Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jul 8, 2003
    I think this will definitely be a "challenge". ;) I've got Darth Finals starting to breathe down my neck, so I'll see what I can do about this.
  5. anakin_girl

    anakin_girl Jedi Knight star 6

    Oct 8, 2000
    This is a good challenge--I saw something similar on the Readers and Writers Section of I'm going to try to work on this within the next couple of days.
  6. AlrikFassbauer

    AlrikFassbauer Jedi Padawan star 4

    Apr 2, 2003
    Well, I must admit that I still have problems creating dialogues in a way that it is obvious that there are *different* people speaking - to me it's like running a second AI in my head, and that's a thing I seemingly cannot do.
  7. Gross-admiral_Thrawn

    Gross-admiral_Thrawn Jedi Youngling star 2

    Jan 12, 2003
    I just wonder, is it allowed to have non-speech sentences or not?
    Because avoiding physical descriptions of a character does not mean that it's just plain words.
    Can I have a fic with no physical character description which consists mostly (i'd say 90%) dialogue with short descriptive sentences which don't describe the character's physical appearance, neither mention his mental features?
  8. _Derisa_Ollamhin_

    _Derisa_Ollamhin_ Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 31, 2000
    Interesting challenge Kit'! Can't wait to read more... I may even come up with something on this myself. :)

  9. _Derisa_Ollamhin_

    _Derisa_Ollamhin_ Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 31, 2000
    Using Dialogue only, define a character.

    This includes their personal likes and dislikes, their appearance, their character, their attitude etc.

    Goodness me, I managed to do it. Hurray for insomnia. No, wait, on second thought... :)

    Just FYI, something pretty close to this was done in the X-Wing novel Starfighter?s of Adumar by Aaron Allston, on page 19:

    "This is Red Leader... We launch at arrival plus five seconds. Red Flight, are you good to go??

    ?Red Two, ready.? That was Tycho, as economical of words as he was of motion.

    ?Red Three, four lit and ready to burn.? Janson's inimitable voice and enthusiasm were evident even across the standard X-Wing comm distortion.

    ?Red Four, nothing?s gone wrong yet.?There was an almost hopeful note to Hobbie's usual dour tone.


    Okay, here?s my attempt. Feedback and critiquing always more than welcome! :)


    ?Padawan, how many times must I tell you??

    [i]Obviously at least one more.[/i] ?Master I [b]tried[/b]-" [i]Oh no? not the ?t? word![/i]

    ?And that is exactly your problem, Klee?shay! Always you try, but so rarely do you [b]do[/b]! You must focus your mind more completely upon the given tasks. Until you have mastered one step, you cannot proceed to the next. How long have we been reviewing this simple technique??

    [i]I can?t believe I said the ?t? word? what was I thinking?[/i] "I... I don?t know, Master.?

    ?Think back and add it up, Padawan. We had just returned from Arkano, where you?d suffered that injury, and in order to prevent another such incident I assigned you the study of these Force-blocks. It?s been...?

    ?Five weeks, Master??

    ?Has it, then? Why are you asking me??

    [i]Oh goody, [b]this[/b] game. Question with a question, but if I get too flippant I?ll feel the sharp edge of his tongue.[/i] ?Just confirming, Master.?

    ?...Very well then. So for five weeks, plus three days, you have been focusing all your attention on this matter??


    ?Of course you haven?t! You?ve let yourself get distracted, and caught up in your own feelings of insecurity, and now we are come to this point. Again.?

    [i] Again.[/i] ?...Yes, Master.?

    ?I have to go speak with Healer Lina and the others now. Get back to work on the problem, and this time, don?t let anything distract you. You must learn this with a whole mind, in order for it to become second nature. And it must be. For when we are in the thick of ?aggressive negotiations?, we have to be prepared for any contingency...?

    [i]I know, I know. The weapon must flow with me, must be as a part of my body... But since when do I parry vibroblades or blaster shots with my arms? This is so frustrating![/i] ?Mm.?

    ?I heard that, Padawan.?

    [i]Stang it![/i]

    ?Please refrain from even thinking that sort of language. It pollutes your mind.?

    ?Sorry, Master.?

    ?And don?t hang your head like that, Klee. I like seeing your eyes. There. That?s better. You need a trim: your bangs are getting too long.?

    [i]I [b]like[/b] them long...[/i] ?...Yes, Master.?


    [i]He looks so disappointed in me.[/i] ?Sorry, Master.?

    ?Klee, you aren?t the most difficult Padawan I have ever trained. But you do try my patience sometimes. Back to work with you: I?ll be back in time for dinner.?

    ?Yes, Master.?... [i]Sweet Light! [b]He[/b] used the ?t? word![/i]

  10. Cheveyo

    Cheveyo Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Oct 29, 2001
    great post, Derisa!

    up. ;)

  11. Rani Veko

    Rani Veko Jedi Padawan star 4

    Apr 22, 2000
    Oh, that poor, poor padawan. That was really entertaining, Derisa, I liked the humour. It's even funnier when read the whole scene over again after you realize the Master can hear everything Klee'Shay (love the name, btw) is thinking.

    - Rani
  12. Ty-gon Jinn

    Ty-gon Jinn Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jan 12, 2000

    ?There?s absolutely no way, Master.?

    ?Are you sure about that, padawan??

    ?I happen to be a Knight now.?

    ?Sorry, sorry, Knight Martuf. I just hope you know that you?ll always be my Padawan Yu.?

    ?Thanks so much.?

    ?I?m surprised you seem sarcastic about the sentiment. You?re the emotional one, remember? Always prone to speak your mind even if it gets you in trouble for being angry??

    ?I?m also the one with the pathetic sense of humor, Master. I?m sarcastic about everything.?

    ?But you also have a real respect for what the Master-Padawan relationship means.?

    ?Well, of course. I got that from you.?

    ?Ah, so we have more in common than these fuzzy antennae??

    ?That?s a Balosar thing, Master, but if you want to think of it as a link, you go right ahead??

    ?But if you have this respect, then why is there absolutely no way??

    ?I just can?t make the decision. I?m not ready.?

    ?Padawan, you know I look up to you.?

    ?Of course you do. You?re three feet tall, I?m five feet tall.?

    ?No, Yu, I look up to you because you are principled, because you?re respectful, and because you don?t take crud from anyone. You are ready to do this. It?s not like I?m asking the impossible.?

    ?The Force has not shown me any direction, Master.?

    ?Then guess. The Force works in mysterious ways.?

    ?Fine, I?ll guess. I guess it?s the girl I saw sparring then, the Corellian with the Chandrilan accent. Nessa Menel-Luin.?

    ?See? Your final test for Knighthood proved easier than you thought. The council has granted me authority to approve it.?

    "Wait, wait. You? And you've approved it?"

    "Just now. It's done."

    A moment passed in awkward silence.

    ?Holy nerf, Master. I have a padawan now!?
  13. Xaara

    Xaara Jedi Master star 3

    Jun 30, 2002
    I've wanted to do this challenge for quite some time, so here's my contribution, but first, to the replies:

    Cheveyo: I liked the scene you chose to portray, and especially that you ended up having three characters talk. (I'm a coward - I stuck with two. ;) ) The storyline was surprising but not so unpredictable as to become implausible. Great job!

    Derisa: That was hilarious! (Especially when you take into account the padawan's name and the fact that his master can hear just about everything that's going on inside his head.) I loved your mention of the "t" word - that made me laugh out loud. The characterization of the slightly condescending but still cheerful master and his Klee'Shay padawan worked perfectly.

    Ty-gon: Yours was wonderful as well, because it depicted a nearly universal moment: the instant in which a parent (or teacher, or mentor, or Jedi Master) discovers that someone else depends on him. Sprinkled throughout with gentle humor, the interaction between the two characters was definitely a day-brightener. :) I liked this line: ?Of course you [look up to me]. You?re three feet tall, I?m five feet tall.? And the last line fit the whole piece perfectly, bringing a satisfying conclusion to the conversation.

    "Look, Darral, I can't just?"

    "You [i]can[/i] just. I haven't waited here for four months only to be told I can't leave. And you, young man, may call me Dr. Gerand."

    "Dar ? Dr. Gerand. I am not authorized to permit you to exit the premises."

    "Private Sazan, I have every right to come and go as I choose."

    "With all due respect sir, no, you don't."

    "I have more degrees than the highest-ranking person in this collection of cannon fodder you call a military, and I have considerably greater appreciation for the subtleties of human interaction as well. Who taught you your manners?"

    "I will choose not to answer that, sir. You are under house arrest, effective now. You will kindly stay in your quarters and not attempt any escape. I'm sorry, Darral, but those are my orders."

    "So the Empire is going to kill me, is that it? Shoot the person who knows too much ? never know when he might turn and talk."


    "Dr. Gerand."

    "Dr. Gerand, I'm only following orders. I don't know what's going to happen. I wish ? sir, I wish none of this had ever taken place. I mean, as prisoners go, you've been the best."

    "The best. Perhaps that means that you know I won't charge at you with a piece of broken metal. Not that anything in this cell could be used to hurt myself or anyone else."

    "No sir. It means that I've regretted that you're here sometimes."

    "Regretted that I'm here, have you? Tell me, Private, do you have a family?"

    "Not much of one."

    "A sister, perhaps? Parents?"

    "A little brother."

    "And if you were separated from this 'little brother' for any length of time, would you look forward to seeing him again? Count the days until you could hug him and take him out to lunch?"

    "Of course. In the military we have to spend a lot of time away from our families."

    "How would you feel if I told you that you would never see your brother again?"

    "Sad, I guess. But I don't know him all that well ? we've spent most of our lives apart because he's almost twelve years younger than me."

    "We're not so different, are we, Private?"

    "You're the one with all the degrees, you tell me."

    "You're the one with the young mind, Sazan. You're the one who can see. I'm an old man and I'm going to die here without ever kissing my wife goodbye, without ever waving one last time to my children. But you have another chance."

    "Are you trying to convince me to let you out?"

    "No, Sazan. I'm trying to convince you to let [i]yourself[/i] out."

    "I'm not sure I understand. And if I'm understanding what I think I'm understanding, then I think the Empire was justified in imprisoning you. We can't have traitors lying around waiting to reveal everything to the nearest Rebellion."

    "You know, Sazan, there are two ki>
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