Getting Your Characters Heard
The battering ram...I remember my art teacher instructing us on our final project: "And please give me something guys. Please do not submit something boring. Please have more respect for me. Do anything. Make me hate you. Be outrageous but please don't boring." Words to create by.
And I'm sorry for the quote.
I never thought of it this way. I think the hard part can be that in a work environment, or even in a family, he or she that holds the floor is usually not the most interesting but instead the one with the most power. So, I lose patience and want them to get to the f-ing point. This is why when at a family gathering, I'd rather sit at the kids table and listen to the chatter of children.
This is helpful. I’m awful at dialogue, and dissecting variables in a characters life that will further dictate their verbal delivery is something I never thought much about. Probably because I’m the type of writer to swoon over Faulkner’s (often tedious) style of painting a detailed, historical, rich picture. Once I get to dialogue, the pen gets thrown around the table. Thank you for the new perspective.
I am really enjoying finding out more about minimalism. I find it more inline with how I write and what I like to read. It's nice to find out the meaning behind the way things are presented. I feel like I knew some of this in my gut. A good amount of these posts are like AH-HA moments for me and they make my writing technique more refined. On the other hand, if you keep making the lightbulb turn on with me and other students, your contribution to global warming will be undeniable.
How many people come from childhoods where the rule "children should be seen, not heard?"
Loving the wholesome family photos, Chuck! In the first one, you could have been a model. I don't think I ever had skin that smooth. What was your skin-care routine?
I love how everyone in the top picture is smiling and Chuck looks like he's planning a murder.
Excellent. Thank you! ❤️
A friend of mine’s mother is from a large Catholic family. She not only has a tendency to ho-hum the start to a story, but once she has everyone’s attention she starts to whisper so you can barely hear her. As if it’s a huge secret, exclusive, etc. Instead of front loading with rephrasing of the same sentence, she often states the hook of the story to draw you in (which she sometimes does restate), then she starts loudly rattling off a bunch of insignificant tangent details (oh and we were at such and such just before that and the food was terrible!) until she has everyone’s attention. That’s when she drops her voice and starts really saying whatever the story is.
The other very unusual social tick that she has is that she interrupts people in the middle of conversations. She does it as if the conversation isn’t happening. It’s almost always when she has not been a part of whatever people are talking about. It’s very rude, yet she is oblivious to it. I’ve seen her do it with everyone along the ladder of social hierarchy, so I’m not convinced that it’s meant to belittle — but initially I thought it was, and many people often seem to be understandably irritated by it. She just has to be the center of attention. I’m sure part of it is her personality, but it probably does have more to do with socialization within her family. She became a very successful sales person and is the youngest and also physically the smallest in a family of six kids. I think her mentality is similar to the way a runt of the litter can remain defensive of their food bowl for their entire life.
I won’t pretend to be a writer. I am however a lover of books, and deeply wish I had the talent to write. The things I’ve learned since you started this has blown my mind and given me an even deeper respect for the art. This and guns vs clocks were wonderful for me!
Some complain that I try to win an argument through talking over all opposing views. I came from a family of at least 5 siblings, depending on dad's house or mom's. I consciously try not to talk over opposing ideas. I get this from my mom, she grew up with 9 other siblings.
I think there's something poetic or appealing in the say it twice concept. It is like get the hook in their mouth, then yank the hook to keep them hooked, maybe? Lead guitarist Ace Frehley says he plays everything twice, that's his secret for pleasing, melodic guitar passages.
On Substack, I also subscribe to Gray Mirror, a Machiavellian political philosopher, but I don't mind that he has strayed off topic this year because his wife passed away. He's been a closet poet for decades, even reading to audiences decades ago and now. He shares his poems more than politics lately. Most poems are about dealing with the death of his wife. It is very personal and nice of him to share that with his readers. But. Readers have complained that his poems do not rhyme. Despite deep insights, personal and political, his poems could be more enjoyable if they rhymed, instead of free style.
I guess for me it is a lot like song lyrics. I am always impressed when the two lines rhyme, wow, how did you do that! That makes if feel like each pairing is an accomplishment. I kind of feel cheated if they have to twist a word pronunciation to make it rhyme, but it just seems satisfying and correct, like the thoughts are in tune because they rhyme, and they usually do support the content of each other line.
Thanks for writing this. It's always great to have another tool to try, but what I find even more exciting is the way that a new tool can make examine your own process. I didn't realize that I had a philosophy for writing dialog until it articulated in my head juxtaposed by your suggestion. In addition to a realization I ended up with a decent post about it. Thanks for the injection.