Make Them Talk

One thing I’ve noticed over the last few years of writing is that I have some characters that talk and others that don’t. Oh sure, they’re all capable, they can all form the words with their mouth, but some of them are way less forthcoming than others.

Verity from Lord of Misrule is incredibly chatty, but Iskander from the same story? Not so much. As in, I was playing around writing a story from his point of view, and it was sort of… resentful and stiff? Not pleasant to write, and god only knows how it would be to read.

Maksim, who I’m writing about currently (20k and it might end up being twice that) is talkative about some things, less about others. Of course, that story is all about the “others.”

I’ve run into lots of problems because I want to write characters who don’t talk. Miss Rat and the Long Suffering Girlfriend have heard me muttering about it, and when it gets to the point where you kind of have to brutalize them to get them to talk, there is something wrong.* Just about everything I have gotten published has been characters who talk, or who don’t mind talking. Even Padraic, from Under the Skin, talks, though it’s a lot more of an apologetic question than a statement, if that makes any sense.

Solution? Write more characters that talk.

I’ve still not figured out yet what makes a character talk. I do know that most of the characters that don’t have too much in their minds to want to talk much. Most of their minds are taken up with clutter, junk, and damage. Most of the ones that do talk have the space to talk, and in the case of Verity and Maksim, are characters that will talk even if they’re alone. **

If anyone has any tips on getting characters to talk, or even how to make characters that talk, I’m all ears.

At the moment, writing a lot, thinking about how to prepare for winter in Milwaukee***, writing some more, and watching lots of anime.
Coming Soon:
Maksim and Seraphim, or Another Romance That Isn’t
My Love Affair With the Oxford Comma
Onion Soup and Milk Bread
*I have no problems brutalizing my characters, it’s just when brutality gets no results that I start having issues.
**Neither of them are entirely well characters, but still.
***Frozen vegetables, closing the windows, hiding in a hole.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Zee
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 01:47:39

    “Hey,” I thought. “Didn’t Nghi have a blog I used to read?”

    I’m a terrible friend.

    We should collaborate. My characters never shut up and let me write description. My manuscripts are long strings of dialogue with one paragraph of exposition at the beginning of each chapter. This might be because I deal with all my problems in words and have trouble wrapping my head around people who don’t.


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