Wednesday, May 1, 2013

In Which Characters Act WAY Out of Character

So...dialogue is frustrating(can I get an amen?). Some days, it's relatively easy. What comes out of my character's mouths just seems to flow and is witty and sparkling and might even make you cry(note, I didn't say if it was a happy cry or a sad cry...).

And then there are the days where I sit and stare at the computer screen with my cursor blinking at me and EVERYTHING my characters say is boring and dumb and very un-sparkly. And then I really do want to cry. Sadly. =(

On those days, I sometimes play a game. Because I spend so much time trying to make sure that what comes out of my character's mouths is IN character, sometimes it's just fun to purposely make it out of character.

Here's an example of some dialogue from my YA historical fantasy:

“I suppose I should take your silence on the matter as agreement?”

“What? Oh, no… I was thinking on something else.”

“So you aren’t angry with me?”
Now, if this were one of those days where I was struggling to get even that small bit out(and oh, how often that happens!) and I decided to play my game, it'd look something like this:
"I suppose I should take your silence on the matter as agreement?"
"What? Oh, no...I was thinking on something else. Like a Polar Pop."
"So you aren't- pardon me? A Po-Lar Pop? that?"
"A really delicious carbonated drink that sure beats the heck out of tea. I'd like one with some vanilla right now. And if I weren't having this dumb, dull and un-sparkly conversation with you- and I lived in the 21st century- I might have one."
Right, so(I know, I'm weird!). After I get done messing around, you know what I sometimes find? That I can write dialogue again! That's in character, yay! Which I guess really made this post about writer's block, and what I find that sometimes helps me circumnavigate it. 

Good ol' Calvin & Hobbes, my fav. cartoon as a kid(and now)

What about you all? Are there any games or tricks you have up your sleeves that help you get out of a rut?


  1. Ah-ha! So that is what Writer's Block is... (Love the cartoon^.)
    I never understood it, and hope not to. There are times I feel "empty"- but if I sit down and start, trusting that there's a whole lot in there, the feeling just melts and I'm off and writing.

  2. Yup, there's a whole lot to be said for 'sitting down and starting'. Sometimes that's the hardest part!

  3. Ha, I like that technique! When I'm feeling stuck with dialogue, I find some way to make my characters argue; that always brings out interesting things.

    1. I'll bet! Next time I'm stuck I'll have to try some arguing, and see where it gets me! =)


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