Nov 5, 2012
First off, forgive me if this post is entirely error ridden and incomprehensible. I woke up under the belief that it was seven. It is actually six. I was a little excited and a little disappointed: A. I actually have plenty of time to blog. B. What? I missed out on sleep I could've had?
Last night I was in bed and was listening to Don't Speak by No Doubt which usually just reminds me of my character, DD. Instead, I ignored most the words and heard, "Don't speak, I know just what you're thinking." What an excellent concept for writing.
Have you ever read someone's writing or *coughcough* my own and found large clusters of pointless dialogue? Why are we reading all of this? Character B already knows the answer and we know all we need to know, so why is Character A going on and on about it? If you've got a section like that, it's usually better to leave the reader hanging with a question that will be answered later (most the time) and it's usually more fun that way.
Actions speak louder than words. I read the beginning of a fanfiction once, that had a mute character. Now, I never went back to the story to finish it, but I find that very interesting. What would happen to your poor main character if he couldn't speak and couldn't use sign language? I'm going to the extreme here, but that poor guy would only be able to explain himself through his actions. Now what about our characters who can speak? We all have body language that shows off what we're thinking even if our words don't. We all show off our emotions too easily by just the small, little actions we do around the day. Take a door, for example. Someone slamming it shut and someone shutting it as carefully as possible portray two very different kinds of action and from them we get in the person's head.
Some people might try to put a mask on their feelings and actions to trip you up. I know me. I'm a big smiler. I'm sad or irritated on the inside, but I'm flashing you my pearly whites on the outside. People don't need my stupid problems that usually aren't problems, but just, "Such and such character decided to sneak up behind me and stab me in the back today."
I even try putting a mask on my happiness sometimes. I learned a friend was coming into town once. I had this perfect plan of telling everyone once we got to the beach. I didn't last lunchtime. However, I tried putting a mask on my happiness because I just KNEW someone would ask what was up if I was grinning like a hyena.
Sometimes characters mask themselves too. My character, DD? She often puts a smile on her face and acts like a normal teenager. Inside, she's being eaten up by problems she's having with her mother and best friend. It's hard for me to show her true feelings sometimes because she just likes to sit and smile. The true teller of her emotions is her guitar, though. If she's sad, it's doubtful that she's going to be playing something happy. All characters will have, at least, one way of showing how they really feel.
How much do you say without speaking, or do you fall into the trap I fall into the majority of the time and add long, pointless schemes of dialogue?
Have an excellent day!