“You didn’t tell them the details of my costume! How will they know what I’m wearing?”
“Look, when I said ‘like a dandy’, that brings in all kinds of associations. In a way, it lets them see your clothing more clearly than if I described every last item.”
“Do they know I like dark grey and green, with a touch of cranberry red?”
“I’m not at all sure we want them to know.”
“I thought that you needed to work on description. That could have been a, a mini-exercise, if you will.”
“I’m starting to think I need to pick my battles with description. I’m not good at the in-depth stuff. A touch here and there, where it really matters—otherwise it’s not my strength. If you will, that’s my style.”
“Well, to be sure. Yet I thought that style was more related to word choice, paragraph structure, attitude. You know, style, like the cut of one’s suit and the fall of one’s cravat.”
“I think writing style is that, but also that style develops out of your strengths and weaknesses. Not to say that you shouldn’t try to shore up weaknesses, but perhaps there comes a time to accept them.”
“Promise me you’ll put at least some thought into how my prosthetic hands work? What they look like, how they operate, Kinaktak’s genius and generosity, I’m sure you can throw in some steampunk-style details….”
4 thoughts on “Conversations with a Character 1”
Ironically enough, I think game writing helped me with description. On the MUD, you had to come up with at least a paragraph for each room, object, or character description, and so I got a lOT of practice at creating a specific impression in a small space. Later on, we added the capability to add echoes to a room that would go off sporadically, and the trick was to come up with enough that they didn’t repeat too often. To do that, I found writing ones that evoked the senses, like a waft of burned meat from a food stall, worked really well.
Interesting! I’ve heard other advantages from people who engaged in creative game ventures—for instance, RPG players who end up with great skills at creating lively characters. I spent a lot of time (years, daily almost) engaging in a very loose chat RPG that relied heavily on written dialogue.
I will keep in mind the idea of creating a specific impression in a small space. I’ve coded for a MUSH and so am familiar that type of environment. That’s a great parallel! :D
I just decided that I ought to spend most of a paragraph describing the delicious meal my characters ate, even though it doesn’t really advance the plot. O’Brian’s descriptions of meals were always delightful, and if they didn’t advance the plot exactly, they gave insight into character and setting, and in my case I had the excuse of setting up a line that conveyed “the food was awesome but the real reason they were eating at this inn was because they needed a private parlor to discuss this confidential business.”
The fact that I wanted to immortalize a certain restaurant meal of my own was purely a bonus.
Having the character interact with the world is a powerful tool—to the point where I’m wondering if I should include one or two scenes in the main story.
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