One of the best tips I was given in developing a character is to talk to them. Not just chatter but real conversations that bring out what type of person that character might be. It can shows how they think, shows personality traits. If you can get past feeling this is kinda crazy, it can really help make your characters come alive, with more depth.
I was reading an excellent article over at Writer’s Digest on “Rewriting the 7 Rules of Dialog” which showed how you can use dialog to reveal your characters.
Here’s what they had to say, ”
“In real life we talk in spurts, in jumbles, in bursts and wipeouts and mumbles and murmurs and grunts as we try to formulate our thoughts. We stumble and correct ourselves. We pause and reflect. We backtrack. We wander into tangents, and then get back to the point.
It’s often said that on the page, good dialogue doesn’t do the same thing. But I disagree.
Tangents reveal character traits and priorities. If dialogue is too focused and direct, it’ll become predictable. Readers want to see the motivations, the quirks, the uniqueness of each character. The prudent use of digressions can add texture to a story.
People don’t always respond to what was said or to the questions they’re asked. They interrupt, change the subject, and attempt to stay on their pre-determined course even after the conversation has taken a turn in a different direction.
“How come it’s so hot out here?”
“It’s supposed to hit 90 today. Hey, listen, do you want some lemonade?”
“Ninety? Man, I hate this. Remind me why we left Maine in the first place.”
“Ninety’s not so bad. So, lemonade?”
Even in this brief exchange, multiple conversations are taking place. They overlap, reveal the character’s attitudes and add verisimilitude to what’s being said.
At times you’ll want your dialogue to pool off into tributaries. This doesn’t mean it’s unfocused or random, but rather that it’s layered with meaning to show the goals of the characters, the social context of the conversation and the subtext that’s present in the scene.”
Another good point Steven James, the man who wrote the guest post bought forth was:
Although in real life people speak primarily to impart information, in fiction a conversation is not simply a way for something to be expressed—it’s a way for something to be overcome. As you’re writing, rather than asking yourself, “What does this character need to say?” ask, “What does this character need to accomplish?”
Check out the complete article over at the source, Writer’s Digest
For more tips on Character building, with a handy chart of character words, check out an earlier post at: http://writerssecrets.com/get-real-have-your-characters-come-to-life-using-these-5-questions/
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