Conversation Writing 101 // Hermit Edition

I love reading witty conversation. And I like writing it, too! But it’s kind of odd when, um… you don’t talk that much in real life? Like, HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO MAKE REALISTIC CHARACTER-SPEAK IF I’VE NEVER ACTUALLY EVER SPOKEN?? (Because I am a hermit who lives under a rock, I come out once a year to speak, briefly, before going back to my rock and my out-of-date electronics. But AHEM, back to the topic at hand.)

But then, isn’t everything in the entire writing process things-you’ve-never-actually-done-but-are-now-pretending-you-know-everything-about-because-your-character-must? Having considered this bit of information, I now consider myself an expert on how to write conversation (but only if you don’t actually speak in real life: THIS IS FOR YOU, FELLOW HERMITS!… if you speak in real life, please leave now because you will probably realize I have no idea what I am talking about), and am now offering you six ridiculous methods on how to write convincing, plausible, witty conversation that you and your readers will enjoy and find highly amusing (because it’s witty, not because it’s terrible).

1) FEED THEM PIE.

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This always makes for a healthy topic of conversation. Especially when two characters have conflicting favorite flavors of pie. DEBATE TIME. (Also, the extra sugary-ness may contribute to why the conversation is not so much witty as hyper and confusing.) For the appropriate writerly inspiration, you should probably eat pie while you’re writing this scene (*coughapplecough*), just, you know, for the proper mood and theme and tone and stuff, and, uh, you know… research. Yes, that’s it. All in the name of research.

2) Pick up the nearest book and go to page 91. Point your finger randomly at someplace on the page, say “SABRI IS THE BEST BLOGGER EVER,” (this is essential to the process) and use that sentence as a prompt.

If you didn’t say, “SABRI IS THE BEST BLOGGER EVER,” while doing this

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If you DID say, “SABRI IS THE BEST BLOGGER EVER,” you will be granted wonderful conversation, and unicorns that flash the colors of the universe

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Okay, okay. Narcissism aside (it’ll probably work either way), this method actually works. Don’t steal names (unless the name’s like John, then it’s not theft, but don’t call your MC ‘Parry Hotter’ or ‘Won Reasley’ or anything like that), or places, or actual lines, or blah blah blah blah blah blah BLAH but draw inspiration from others’ work. I’m not telling you to plagiarize (DON’T DO THAT, BAD IDEA), but you can certainly draw on others’ work as inspiration or just use a random word on the page as a conversation starter. Another thing along these lines that works is using a Random Dialogue Generator. They’re ridiculous. I LOVE THEM.

3) THAT RANDOM CONVERSATION YOU WERE HAVING WITH YOURSELF IN YOUR HEAD ABOUT THE AWESOMENESS OF CHEESE? Yes. That one! It is fantastic. Write it down and feed it to your characters to make story fodder.

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See, I know what you are thinking, my friends. I know exactly what you are thinking.

But really! Are you listening to music? What does your playlist make you think of? Are you cleaning? What are you daydreaming about? Write about what you’re thinking of. Turn your odd inklings into story fodder! Is your stomach growling for pie? WRITE ABOUT PIE.

4) Talk about sad little moppets.

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TRUST ME, this works. I KNOW AT LEAST ONE OF YOUR CHARACTERS HAS A TRAGIC PAST. Don’t you dare lie to me! If they only have a tragic past and no other defining characteristics, giving them a love of either pie or the French Revolution works out rather well for all of you. Even better, make their tragic past lead to the French Revolution. And there shall be pie at the end! PIE. I like pie. I also like the French Revolution. In case you couldn’t tell. (You could.)

5) If all else fails, stage a conversation explaining why they don’t want to converse. This works PERFECTLY. Some of the time.

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See, if you can figure out how to write this conversation without it dissolving into a mess and becoming a terrible writer of dialogue in the process, I will be most astounded. I might even offer you some of my pie.

6) Try the way normal, non-hermitic writers do it: go outside and listen to public conversation.

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I ADMIT IT THIS ONE IS A JOKE. Never do this. Never. IT IS DANGEROUS TO VENTURE OUTSIDE YOUR CAVE. OR YOUR PARENTS’ CAVE. Don’t go outside. Stay safe. Protect yourself. We are hermits. We stay in our caves. Do this sensible thing. Stay indoors, and out of all direct sunlight. This has been a public service announcement from your local Hermit Safety Official (HSO).

Are you a hermit-like creature? Do you speak to people? And how do you write conversations if you don’t speak to each other and hide under your rock 362 days of the year? (You see, I don’t know about you, but there are three days during which I become madly crazy and have an odd urge to abandon my cave during daylight hours. ABSURD.)

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11 responses to “Conversation Writing 101 // Hermit Edition

  1. I’m TERRIBLE at writing dialogue. I mean, how am I supposed to know about wit? *shakes head*
    Thank you for all your fabulous tips, though! I shall be putting them into practice very soon. French Revolution is always a good thing to have in a novel. gaaAH MY REVOLUTION FEEEELS. Seriously, this is such a great post. 🙂

  2. I’m usually the opposit because my characters talk too much and there’s banter, but sometimes you need a few dragons to swoop in and make a few dragons die too 😄
    BUT I DIGRESS. This post is fabulousness. Should I feel compelled to say “Sabri is the best blogger ever” after this? BECAUSE I DOO.
    Also, PIE. *nodnod* A wonderful conversation starter. And I love all the Dean Winchester gifs you managed to sneak in their ❤ *flails* Aye.

    • AH YES YES YES I AM quite the bestest blogger ever. *proffers magical unicorn and possibly pie* They talk so much sometimes and then sometimes I’m like WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU WEIRDOS TALK TALK TALK.
      Yes, pie. *nods solemnly* My phone believes it is the true spelling of the the last name of Edgar Allen Poe (we know it really is Pie, Edgar, you don’t need to be ashamed; we won’t eat you… probably). Lol there are just really awesome gifs from supernatural and I end up using all of them somehow. Also one of them involved pie, so how could I resist??

    • *nods in agreement* Yes, yes. Well, birthdays I become even more hermit-ish, but Christmas is awesome and so is Easter and I become oddly excite around people at the end of the school year?? It’s odd. I am odd. I’m a hermit. Of course I’m odd. Never mind me.

  3. I hate writing dialogue. I don’t like reading it either 😄 McCarthy strips it down to bare bones, so the characters speak but there is nothing else, not even dialogue tags (he said, she said, etc.). Well written fanfic has more dialogue than literature, so that’s where I turn for inspiration 🙂 I’ve tried to become more observant of others.

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