Monday, May 4, 2009

Character Interaction by Lynn Tincher

There are several ways that characters in you story can interact. Not only do they speak to each other, they exchange glances, or glares, hold hands, pat on the back, or punch each other in the face.

The important thing is to define your character. Create an outline on a separate piece of paper that will help guide you in the behavior of your character in different situations. Is your character hot headed? If so, keep that in mind when they run up against obstacles.

Dialog is a very important tool for character interaction. Wikipedia describes dialog as this: A dialogue (sometimes spelled dialog) is a conversation between two or more people. It is also a literary form in which two or more parties engage in a discussion. It is used to make a person feel like they are there listening to the conversation happen in person.

Venture out to your favorite restaurant or social gathering. Listen in. Yes, I'm telling you to eaves drop. If you don't want to keep notes, carry around a small recorder and tape the conversation around you. Study up on how people talk to each other, their inflections, stutters and pauses. This will help you construct dialog that flows well and is believable.

This is not all dialog does. It's a great way to give vital information. The inflection or vocabulary used can help define education, social standing, or belief systems of your character. Make sure that your dialog stays in character. If your character is uneducated, don't have him citing physics.

Be very careful when using "bookisms". For example, don't have your character sigh or yawn their way through every sentence they speak. Also you want to be careful using adverbs like John said angrily or Jane said warily.

Be aware that most characters do not use the person's name when speaking to someone.

"George, you ate all of your peas!"
"I did, Mom."
"I'm very proud of you, George."

Info-dumping is another technique to avoid. Characters are not going to tell each other everything they know. Rely on memories. Some information is necessary, but make sure to over using dialog to explain background details or recaps. This type of dialog can lose a reader. It seems false and lifeless.

Don't forget to use the word said. Said is a word that our brains see as invisible yet it lets the reader know who spoke. As with all of the others mentioned, do not overuse any of them in your writing. Use them in moderation. Rules are made to be broken but not demolished. A great piece of writing will include variations of everything mentioned above. Keep it interesting.

Copyright 2009 - Lynn Tincher

1 comment:

  1. Just finished your book! Loved it! Everything clicked at the end and you have me hooked!


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The Literary Lynnch Pen is a weekly newsletter published by Lynn Tincher. About Lynn: Lynn was born in the small town of La Grange, Kentucky and grew up in Goshen. Lynn studied Theater Arts in College in hopes of becoming a Drama/English teacher. She has written articles in local newspapers and travel brochures. Now, she is focused on writing novels, short stories and poems. The second edition of her book "Afterthoughts" will be released in April of 2009 with the sequel "Left in the Dark" to be released on October of 2009. She also manages Artist Corner, an artist social website dedicated to help all artists become successful. Her eZine and website provides helpful tips and information. Lynn also provides email list management services. She has partnered with Constant Contact to help provide authors, artists, and small businesses the services to manage their email lists and marketing strategies, eZines, electronic newsletters, coupons and bulletins. Please visit: