Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Writers block
Dr W at 1:05PM, Sept. 23, 2009
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Hello Drunk Duck community, this is new member Dr W creator of Elemental Eye in Schools.

I've been working on this comic for years now with no intention of it going anywhere, just to practice my style, ya know, anyways, I decided I would go from a random story line to an actual story line. I made this comic to flush out my characters, but I'm finding it hard to write smooth flowing dialog between characters. The dialog feels stiff and not what I envisioned for my characters in some instences. I was never the social chap in high school, so I don't know to much about hour long conversations. I'm not saying that that's the reason for my writers block. It's just one thing I thought up while writing this.

Any one have any advice for a fellow manga/comic book artist/writer?
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:14PM
Custard Trout at 1:12PM, Sept. 23, 2009
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posts: 4,566
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I curl up in the corner and weep until I fall asleep in a pool of my own tears. Sometimes I softly whisper ‘I’m a fucking failure' as well.

It. . .

It doesn't work that well.
Hey buddy, you should be a Russian Cosmonaut, and here's why.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:02PM
jaex at 1:52PM, Sept. 23, 2009
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Dr W
I was never the social chap in high school, so I don't know to much about hour long conversations. I'm not saying that that's the reason for my writers block. It's just one thing I thought up while writing this.

Because I can strongly relate to this, I can tell you what has generally helped me with dialogue between characters(and also with writing block in general).

One thing I've found to be true(for myself) is that it's damned hard to force yourself to make your characters talk like they're not you. It could just be a common thing, or it could have something to do with the fact that I rarely converse with anyone except for the two people I'm living with. And I grew up with them, so they don't talk too much differently than me. I'm a social retard in the most serious sense of the word– I'm constantly missing social cues and making a fool out of myself around other people because I'm just not used to dealing with them.

Having a conversation with myself would be very tense and boring– and if I don't sit down and tell myself “Okay, this character is NOT you. He thinks and acts differently, and so does the girl he's talking to,” then the dialogue will sound as if one Me is talking to another Me. Not good.

So I do my best to get into my character's minds, and mostly stay out of my own during dialogue. It was a struggle at first but after a while I naturally slip into them while writing.

You have to make sure that every character has a goal; especially the small temporary goals. Maybe John wants to hear Alice's ghost story, or maybe Mark wants to get up and grab a beer but doesn't want to seem rude? Maybe Tom wants to apologize for an argument with Mark last week but can't figure out the best way to bring it up? These goals have huge effects on what everyone says and how they say it, and how they react to what has been said.

Another thing– give them something to talk about. I know that most of my conversations with people I'm familiar with end up being stories/opinions on recent events, both in our personal lives and stuff we see in the news and such. So if your characters don't have much of a past, or if the world around them is frozen, they probably won't have much to talk about.

I usually do lots of short stories that no one else will see, just to flesh the characters out in my mind. It gives them a background and it gives me writing practice.

As for writers block in general– when I get writer's block in the middle of a story, it usually means that I'm trying to force the story in the wrong direction… or I'm doing it in the wrong way. So I delete what I've written and rewrite it a different way, if it still doesn't work I rewrite it again. Then I stop to consider whether or not what I'm writing is significant, or if there's anything else that could do better in its place.

Well, I hope you at least got something from that jumbled essay of a post.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
Hyena H_ll at 1:09AM, Sept. 24, 2009
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posts: 1,568
joined: 11-13-2008
Heh. I got “Best Dialogue” so I get to pretend like I know what I'm talkin' about here. lol!

My advice for writing dialogue:
-You can try having words or phrases that they frequently say, that other characters tend not to say. For example, I have a character that (intentionally on my part) overuses the word “totally”. Not quite catch-phrases, just normal words (“like”, “um”, etc.) that some people tend to say a lot. The trick is to make it subtle. No one's goin' for “Eat my shorts”, ya know?

-One rule I've heard is to make decisions on things a character would never say, and write that way. For example, some characters might never curse; others might never shorten words or use slang- their speech might be more proper.

-Another trick I use is to have characters shorten or conjunct words differently. For example, one character always drops the “g” on “-ing” words, and one never does. One says “Prob'ly” and another “Pro'lly”. Some characters are more apt to say “gonna” instead of “going to”, or “kinda” instead of “kind of”.

-You can also write phonetically- spell the words as they'd sound when the character is speaking. (For example, “fer” or “yer” instead of “for” or “your”.) You can also have unfinished sentences or cut-off sentences. My characters tend to interupt each other a lot. But I use more dialect and colloquial style speech than I think most folk do; it might not apply to you.

-I act out every scene, literally. I used to run role-playing games, and had to do all the NPCs, of course, so it ain't too hard for me. But pretend to be your characters, talking to one another. If you can imitate their emotions and body-language, you'll get a better feel for how they might say something.

-Listen to your friends, family, strangers, people on TV or radio, etc. Identify patterns in their speech, and try to immatate them. Try to write something they haven't said in the way that they'd say it.

-Likewise, read other comics or novels and try to pick out the differences in different character's speech. Can you tell them apart? If so, how? Take note on how other folk do it right (or wrong).
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:53PM
kyupol at 12:24PM, Sept. 24, 2009
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Dr W
Hello Drunk Duck community, this is new member Dr W creator of Elemental Eye in Schools.

I've been working on this comic for years now with no intention of it going anywhere, just to practice my style, ya know, anyways, I decided I would go from a random story line to an actual story line. I made this comic to flush out my characters, but I'm finding it hard to write smooth flowing dialog between characters. The dialog feels stiff and not what I envisioned for my characters in some instences. I was never the social chap in high school, so I don't know to much about hour long conversations. I'm not saying that that's the reason for my writers block. It's just one thing I thought up while writing this.

Any one have any advice for a fellow manga/comic book artist/writer?

I've got the same problem too but the key here is to be able to properly internalize a character. To internalize a character you need to:
- get a feel of the history of the character.
- internalize the character's feelings both inside and out.

You have to BE the character during the entire duration of your writing out his/her dialog.

Here's some of my characters and a few things I keep in mind when writing their dialog.

LUCIA
- her entire tragic history (won't spoil it in this thread).
- she is psychopathic. Cold and calculating. Manipulative.
- she is very intelligent. So I have to minimize the cusswords. Her cussword rate is probably 1 cussword for every 10 paragraphs.

KYLE
- his entire tragic history (wont spoil it in this thread)
- he's got anger problems.
- he's not too bright but he's got some common sense in him at least.
- cussword rate of at least 2 per sentence.
- he loves to repeat what he just said but says it in a different sentence.
- sample line: “I'M A CRUSH EM!!! I'LL JUST BANG THEIR FUCKIN HEADS INTO THE FUCKIN CONCRETE AND GO WAAARRRRGGGH!!!! And then I… I… you know I just went BAM! I hit em… and hit em… fuckin over and over again and just go UUAAARRGGGH!!! FUCKING PIECES OF SHIIITTT!!!”


NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:26PM

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