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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Use your Words

Hey. What’s going on here? It’s like she doesn’t have anything else to do besides spend all fucking day online! I’ve been stuck in that stupid generator room for two weeks!

Now, Anoria, Dear. You know she’s busy. Let’s just calm down. Would you care for some tea?

Tea? Are you joking? *sigh* Fine. I’ll have some some of your stupid tea. Who the hell are you anyway?

My name is Private Detective First Class Owen Straff. Very pleased to meet you, Anoria Lee. Now please. Have a seat. We have quite a bit to discuss.

And how the hell do you know my name, Mr. First Classawhosit?

Private Detective First Class Owen Straff. I would imagine that would be obvious. I’m a detective. Of the First Class. And your language is atrocious for a lady.

Look. I didn’t even want to fucking come. Bard made me. He figured it would be easier for me to answer your stupid questions. So. Can we just get on with it?

Do you have someplace you’d rather be? Back in the generator room with Mimi perhaps? I didn’t think the two of you were getting along.

What the hell did you put in this tea? It tastes like peppermint. And lemon.

*Cough* Mint Leaves. And Lemon.

Oh. Well. It’s ok.

I am so glad you approve. Now. Perhaps we can focus on the task set to us?

I suppose.

Wonderful. I'm pleased to have your permission.


What happens when you take all the distinguishing tags out of your writing?

 Can you distinguish between who's talking? Can you tell your characters apart? Do they have a distinctive voice? A distinctive personality? Can you picture their facial expressions when they say the things you script for them to say?

Did you answer No to any of these questions? If so...slap yourself upside the head and pay attention. 

These characters that we put in our stories, that carry our stories, that ARE our stories...They are three dimensional. They have stuffed up noses, bad hair days, cars that don't start (or dragons that don't fly...). They have histories. They have baggage. They get angry, sad, happy, scared, confused...every emotion you have felt. They have too.

When you write your characters with one voice, one emotion all the time...your reader will get bored and move on. If your "Good Guy" is always Confident and Smart and Strong and Beautiful and wins at everything he does. Gag me with a spoon. Same with the "Evil Guy".  Only, you know...in the evil way.

We've talked quite a bit this week on characters...getting to really know your characters. And hopefully...you can take that knowledge and use it here. Find what makes your character unique. Give them a voice that really stands out. And by proxy...

Give you a story that really stands out.


Shannon Lawrence said...

Interesting exercise. I'll have to try it!

Liza said...

Well written post. There are lots of good things to chew on here.

Charity Bradford said...

Excellent post! And the dialogue without tags is a great idea. As a reader I prefer fewer tags. Why can't the writer side of my get on the same page?

Huntress said...

*still laughing*

Excellent post. Tweeting it now.

mshatch said...

love the excerpt :)

Alicia C. said...

Thanks Everyone! I sort of feel like my brain has been wrung out... :) It was fun though. Hopefully people learned something...and will keep coming back!

Arlee Bird said...

Cormac McCarthy writes like this and it can be quite confusing to me at times. Sometimes I'll have to stop and go back to keep track of who is saying what. He's one of my favorite writers, but his writing requires one to pay close attention in the stretches of dialog.

An A to Z Co-Host
Tossing It Out

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

Interesting post on characters..anyway I wanted to say thank you for stopping by my blog :)

sameer ayan said...

thank you for sharing

Francene Stanley said...

Great advice. I'll definitely follow it. The best way owuld be to go through the story so far and work through each personality. Thanks for this.