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The Art of the Conversation

kawaiidaigakusei at 12:00AM, June 1, 2020

Understanding the importance of the dialogue between two characters (or an internal monologue) is crucial for writing conversations in comics. It is true that comics are written differently than real world conversations because it removes a lot of the idiosyncrasies that happen in real-time conversations. However, learning to apply techniques that work in real-time conversations and applying it to a written conversation is very important to the flow of a storyline and plot.

Here are the basics for learning how to dig deep in a face-to-face conversation and move away from the surface level small talk in a group setting:

-When having a serious discussion, make sure everyone is allowed to speak and share their perspective on an issue before speaking twice

-Understand that not everyone has the same beliefs on certain topics, so agree to not agree at the very beginning while giving the speaker a chance to share their opinion without interruption

-Do not put down anyone’s contribution or thoughts and ideas to the conversation

-Do not interrupt the speaker until they have finished their complete thought so they will not loose their train of thought

-Elocution and the use of proper grammar are important and an audience will judge the speaker by the word choices they make, however, it is not up to the audience to correct the grammar and words used by the speaker

-Once a question is answered, the follow up question relating to the response is very importantto show the speaker that you were actively listening to the conversation

-Do not get distracted by the time, your reflection (video conversation), or objects around the room because it tells the speaker that there are more important things than the conversation happening. Being an undivided listener is better than being a multitasking listener

-Ask questions that are personal and important to the listener, such as: Have you read any good books recently that challenged the way you think? Have you picked up a new hobby or learned a trade?

-Depending on your preexisting relationship with a person, play Devil’s Advocate and think about a topic that will seriously challenge a person’s way of thinking

-Use reputable quotations and conscientiously sourced articles to add to and build up your argument

-Strengthen your stance using Ethos (Ethics), Logos (Logic), and Pathos (Emotion) in order to defend your way thinking

-Slow down and really be mentally present during the conversation

If you take the time to apply active listening tips to the next conversation you write for your characters or have with another person, you will be find that surface-level conversations will not be as fun or dynamic as meaningful conversations and it just might help in your social circles.

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kawaiidaigakusei at 2:16PM, June 2, 2020

@usedbooks - that is very interesting, indeed! This is very true when you apply it to comedy, watching someone who is naturally funny and can tell a joke really can teach us how less funny people tell jokes.

kawaiidaigakusei at 2:13PM, June 2, 2020

Oh @marcorossi, what I would do to read a book of advice on how to have a conversation with people who enjoy to dominate it and how to win an argument.

marcorossi at 11:14PM, June 1, 2020

These rules are good if you are trying to have a "positive" conversation, where all people want to learn something. In real life, often people want to persuade or otherwise "win" a conversation, so the opposite of this happens. In comics often the important thing is to show what each character wants, so each character will breach these rules trying to dominate, and this will show what he or she wants (also conflict is fun to watch).

usedbooks at 8:45PM, June 1, 2020

@kawaii: Absolutely. Knowing how to do something well makes you much better at deliberately doing it poorly (or portraying characters who do it poorly). You can be accidentally bad at something, but if you want to really show "bad," you need to understand what the mistakes are and include them.

kawaiidaigakusei at 11:53AM, June 1, 2020

Exactly @usedbook @Banes you definitely got the main point. It is good to know how to have a conversation before writing dialogue for one. Write what you know.

Banes at 7:31AM, June 1, 2020

I was taking it more as real life advice, haha. UB is right of course - characters can have great, crackling dialogue when they DON'T behave properly!

Banes at 7:30AM, June 1, 2020

Great stuff. Really good food for thought. I definitely fall short in this department often!

usedbooks at 7:28AM, June 1, 2020

Good pointers for real life. That said, in fiction, to make conversations more realistic, ignore or contradict all these rules.

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