Moira here welcoming you back to another #SensualSunday here on Naughty Quills. Last week I spoke about injecting some personality into your characters. This week I’m going to discuss an important step in this process.
The Conversations Your Characters Hold
While there are exceptions to every rule around, first and foremost you should begin by always writing how you personally speak. This is particularly true when writing conversation being held between your characters. The more realistic sounding it is, like everyday conversation, the more relatable it will be to your readers.
Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? Some days it is, other days the attempt to string more than two words together is like trying to figure out quantum physics after a full night out drinking and partying like there was no tomorrow. It’s downright impossible. There are a couple tricks I’ve discovered that work in most cases, not all mind you, but definitely enough of the time that you can usually push yourself over the hump and back into the flow.
The first is pretty obvious, find a public place and listen to others talking. Not only will it get you out of your own head, and hopefully over your sticking point, but it may even give you some ideas. The second is to act out your conversation. You can do this alone, although if anyone walks in they’ll be making a break for the exit to get away from your crazy ass, but doing it with someone else may actually show you where you’re running into trouble. Even better is to have two, or more if needed, people read the conversation you constructed. This allows you to sit back, close your eyes, and envision your characters speaking the words. Does it sound like a real life conversation, or is it coming across stilted and forced sounding?
If it sounds choppy and disjointed then you have a problem. We want realistic characters, and unless it’s an awkward first/blind date, why the hell do your characters sound like they are fighting for every syllable? Two dimensional characters won’t be saved by B-roll script work. They need to speak like they live, breathe, and behave. You have to make them as realistic as any person you’ve ever had contact with. Put real emotion into the words and your readers will pick up on it, whether is excitement, fear, joy, anger or sadness.
So remember, less stick figure and more realism is necessary. Now get out of here and have a good day. Don’t forget to listen to those chatting around you, who knows what you might hear that could help you down the line.
XO Moira Callahan