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Conversations with your characters

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Hir i-Chorvath, Nov 27, 2020.

  1. Hir i-Chorvath

    Hir i-Chorvath Auror

    Sometimes I like to figure out how things happened in my stories by talking to my characters. I'm just wondering what kind of conversations other people have with theirs.
    With my favorite character, Rathalas, they usually end up something like this ...when he feels like being helpful anyway:

    Me: Rathalas, how many merchants were at the meeting that assigned you the Reaper? Was it five or one?
    Rathalas: Five or one? That's not a big difference at all. And aren't you the author? Figure it out.
    Me: Aren't you the one who always complains when I get things wrong?
    Rathalas: What? You expect me to let you write something wrong and not tell you about it?
    Me: You could just tell me what it is in the first place and then we wouldn't have to go through this mess.
    Rathalas: Or you could just be smarter about it.
    Me: Thanks a lot. Now was it five or one?
    Rathalas: Did you already write both scenes?
    Me: Yes. I already wrote both storming scenes. Do you mind?
    Rathalas: It was one. Captain Telchar of the Destiny. He practically begged Demoux on his hands and knees to escort him through the Strait.
    Me: See, that wasn't so hard now, was it?
    Rathalas: Don't get used to it.
    Me: Fine, do you mind telling me what happened the rest of the way? I mean, you've already started.
    Rathalas: ...
    Me: Come on!
    Rathalas: ...
    Me: ...please?
    Rathalas: Telchar came to the Immortal and asked there. I don't know the details of how the meeting ended because I left halfway through because Demoux got mad at me for pacing. But we ended up escorting the Destiny to the Dead Man's Strait and you know what happens from there.
    Me: Vaguely. Wait, where are you going?!
    Rathalas: Away. I've used up three weeks' worth of niceness telling you all that.
    Me: Didn't even give me any storming details.
  2. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    I don't talk directly with characters, but I very often have conversations *between* characters that may or may not wind up in the story. It's how I explore both the topic they're talking about and begin to develop a voice for each.

    For example, I just wrote a bit where my MC Fieto has taken a turn at rowing on a galley. He's the king of Sicily, so he has zero experience with this sort of thing. He was curious, and if a king asks, you indulge him. Rather than describe that experience, I have Fieto talking with his friends afterward.

    The conversation let me think a bit about the elements of rowing on a galley; maybe I can use something later during combat. I'm going to spend at least one full chapter in the ship, so it's worth getting down into the details, at least as research.

    It also, though, gave me a chance to develop character voices. I have a fairly clear notion of how Fieto and his close friends talk and interact, but I don't have a whole lot of them actually speaking among each other. So this was another chance to see how each speaks, who dominates, who interrupts, colloquialisms, all that. At the end, I have one character make an observation about Fieto that felt right; I'll definitely use that somewhere.
  3. Ned Marcus

    Ned Marcus Sage

    I talk to characters when I want to know how they'd act in difficult situations. They're more honest to themselves than I can be, especially when facing death.
  4. Somélle

    Somélle Acolyte

    Usually I imagine scenes between characters, not directly talk to them, but if it works for you then go for it!
    Nighty_Knight likes this.
  5. Carl Brothers

    Carl Brothers Scribe

    Mine's a little different. I draw them out. Somehow being able to visualize them on paper.... their stories start to unfold right in front of me...
  6. The Dark One

    The Dark One Auror

    I don't talk to my characters but I do love it when they develop so much power they can wrest control of the story from me and take it down paths that hadn't occurred to me.
    Nighty_Knight and Carl Brothers like this.

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