Lately, I've been having some interesting conversations with various people, and one, in particular, stood out from all the rest. I realized quickly that one of the reasons why people like the stories I write, is because they love the dialogue between my characters. It just occurred to me that not only do I pay attention to our human element, I pay close attention to what people talk about.
When you're looking for something interesting for your characters to talk about, think about the people you talk with and how everyone is contributing. Follow the mannerisms of each person. Take notice how you are reacting. Some people speak with their hands. Some speak with cartoon-'ish' facial expressions. Some touch the other person they are speaking with, and some cross their arms across their chest. Body language is everything. Have you ever witnessed two people speaking, and without being able to hear, you can tell from the body language exactly what they are talking about?
After I chuckled to myself realizing this would be a fun post to blog about, I thought about the things people say to one another that create conflict. I call them, "buzz words." When a person starts off a conversation with, "I don't mean any harm, BUT. . ." or "Don't ever let anyone tell you you're (fill in the blanks). . ." or "Please don't take this the wrong way, (fill in the blanks. . .), BUT you're still a great person," or "You are very attractive to be (fill in the blanks), BUT I still think you're hot" or you've had a full conversation and the person states, "Honestly, though, in a manner of speaking. . ." So. . . what are you saying, you were lying through the entire conversation, and now you're being honest? My all-time favorite is, "For you to be. . . (fill in the blanks), I still like you." Buzz words are another way of insulting a person, but the person doing the insulting considers himself to be paying you a compliment. Yeah, right?
Just reading those buzz words immediately makes the blood boil a little. When you think about the rude and inconsiderate comments people in everyday life say to one another, remember those feelings and use them when creating characters and dialogue. It definitely makes for an interesting read, and your readers will be able to identify with the emotions that go along with them, which brings another topic to mind.
I read recently that some authors, including myself, have given advice to novice authors that they should write what they know. And the article I read said this is the worst advice to give because in order to write make-believe, you don't have to know anything to write those stories. Well, I totally disagree. Novice writers struggle with creativity and keeping their stories flowing. Unless you are truly gifted with the blessing of words, it does help to write about things you know because it promotes creativity. I've written several short make-believe stories that were total fantasy, but knowing a little about the situations I created for my characters helped to create those stories. Having a little knowledge in anything you do is key to what it is you're trying to create, which is why I always tell anyone writing, do as much research on different topics so you can create all the types of stories you wish to write. The more knowledge you have, the more believable (whether fantasy or not) your story will be, and your readers will be able to believe the story and the characters.
I know this is true for me because so many of my readers tell me how real my characters are to them. I've never created a film in my life, but my main character in SILENT KNIGHT is a film maker. I did a little research on making films and watching documentaries which gave me more insight into how Clarence would do his film he created in the book. For this writer, the more I know about anything, the better I am equipped to write my story, which is why my stories appear real (that also includes my fantasy stories).
So whether your characters are based off of people you know, or someone you made up in your head, think about how people interact with one another, and pay close attention to when people are speaking, so you can create interesting dialogue for your characters. Try using some of those "buzz words," and I guarantee you, that will get some conflict building between your characters, and your readers will love it.
As always, Peace, Much Love and Write ON! writers.
Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet
Write ON!: http://www.kimberlyraneehicks.biz
Write ON!'s Blog: http://mellojune.blogspot.com