Posts belonging to Category Dialogue

Reprise: How Not To Misplace People in a Scene

Originally posted August 12, 2010.
One of the biggest problems with having four or five people operating in the same scene, regardless of its type, is the risk that the better-imaged ones will take over and the less-definite ones will get lost in the shuffle. A couple days ago, UZ asked how to [...]

Writing Dialect Without Going Overboard

One of the things I like seeing in a work in which most of the characters are coming from different places is an understanding that they’re going to have somewhat different dialects. That’s awesome; it makes it clear to me that the author/GM knows that people sound different, and can fake the distinctive features of [...]

Reprise: What Neuromarketing Can Teach Us About Memorable Characters

Originally published on November 24, 2009. Blame the server issues.
I hadn’t been going to post this one for a while, but then I blundered onto ChattyDM’s riff about managerial skills and GMing, and he asked for it in the comments. Never let it be said that I turn down perfectly good requests.
The fun thing about [...]

Reprise: Can Big Drama Be Done Quietly?

Originally posted on February 22, 2010.
I play games in which grand and dramatic is pretty much the gold standard. It’s part of the system, I can deal with that. I see a lot of people writing in ways that are grand and dramatic, and hey, power to them. But there’s one thing [...]

Adding Description to Dialogue: The Comic Method

The biggest challenge in writing dialogue, I think, isn’t necessarily actually writing good dialogue. Most of us can find examples of snappy one-liners or decent conversations. The problem, instead, is making sure that the dialogue doesn’t yawn and swallow the rest of the scene, leaving us with a couple of characters talking in what for [...]

Prepping for a Crowd

One of the toughest things I’ve ever found to do is writing scenes with lots and lots of characters (which can just mean “more than four or five who aren’t controlled by someone else”). I’ve talked about this before, mostly with characters all directly interacting with each other, but there always seems to be more [...]

I Don’t Think Like You, All Right?

When we’re dealing with characterization, most of us have a tendency to write what we know—we’re used to the things we prioritize, and often figure out our characters based on “accepts this premise—rejects that one—ignores that one entirely….” Sometimes, though, we see characters who operate on a principle that just doesn’t resonate with our audience, [...]

Prepping Character Groups: Role Play

Yesterday, I talked about some of the elements for creating groups of characters that could also function as one somewhat complicated character role-wise. One of the points I touched on was the idea of each character’s role in the group, and how these roles can be used to ensure that the characters aren’t misplaced (unless [...]

Prepping Small Groups of Characters

Sometimes you’re going to have a group of characters that are so associated that they might as well serve as one single character; you hardly ever see them apart from each other, and it’s usually either plot-related or a fact about feasibility when you do. Presenting these sorts of groups onstage is a challenge, particularly [...]

Inserting Humor Without Breaking the Scene

We really don’t have to talk about why intense emotion is so common in our stories and games; it’s, well, intense. But the thing about it, particularly if it takes the form of a whole lot of negative emotion, is that it’s tiring, moreso the longer it goes. Fortunately, slipping spots of humor into an [...]