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Thems fighting words

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, July 9, 2021
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Conflict in a story is not only necessary, it can be the juiciest part of your comic. Think about it! We often remember and recount the parts of a movie, comic or show where the emotions were the strongest. A solid vitriolic scene can result in one hell of a memorable moment so here are some tips and tricks to help you write a killer, anger infused argument for your comic.

What is the baseline behaviour of your characters?
A scene where a character who explodes after being cool and collected for most of your comic will have more impact than one who is known to be hot headed. Alternatively, a hot headed character who falls into a silent death stare is going to be more intimidating than in previous encounters. Both characters have reached a boiling point but both react differently. Keep in mind their baseline reaction to an insult and how that behaviour may change as more pressure is applied. Speaking of which…

What is the scale of the reaction from 1 to 10?
Is your character at their breaking point or are they merely slapping back a pithy comment? Taking into account their reactions on a scale of 1 - 10 that can help you determine how hard they will come at each other when engaged in verbal knife fights. Keep in mind that both aren’t generally going to come to a fight at a simmering five. One will more often than not be higher on the scale than the other. As they continue to engage that scale may move up or down. Some characters will take longer than others to move in either direction. By understanding the depth of their anger and sticking to it it’ll help you create an impactful scene.

Aim for the low blows
As we get heated and become more hurt we begin swinging with the low blows. The same goes for your characters. If you’re writing a scene that is fuelled by white, hot anger, come out swinging. A character who truly doesn’t care about their appearance but does about their sense of character may not react the same way to an insult about their looks the same way as say having their integrity called into question. Know your characters’ insecurities and baggage and then fight dirty with those low blows.

Keep it tight, keep it quick
Drawing pages upon pages of a fight can be emotionally draining for you and the reader. Aim to keep the argument quick. Plot out why the characters are having this argument to begin with, make the point and get out. Not only will you be avoiding having a conflict for conflict’s sake it’ll also help you avoid making it too heated to the point where characters who later are meant to kiss and make up, can’t as it got too mean. Try to avoid long laundry lists of adjectives after all simple insults are often the most effective.

What do you do to make an argument between characters more impactful? Let us know in the comment section below! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST)!

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anonymous?

hushicho at 3:55PM, July 9, 2021

Be VERY, very careful with this. It's extremely easy to go over the line and say or do something that cannot be forgiven. I saw this in a lot of superhero writing around 2000. Always be careful of that fine line, because if a person goes too far -- which is very easy, especially if you resort to low blows -- it makes it difficult or impossible to redeem that character for at least some of the readers. And they will remember -- don't expect them to forget one of the parts that you worked to make memorable! Sure, nobody's perfect, but some things just cannot be forgiven...and won't be, by your audience.

usedbooks at 4:38AM, July 9, 2021

Some of my characters have tempers. Some cry. Some are afraid of their tempers. One of my most even, composed characters is an antagonist, but I have made a point to suggest that it hasn't always been the case. He's a "bad guy" but he's a don't-get-my-hands-dirty type, and everything he does is very calculated and deliberate. The fuse is lit for him to explode at the series climax, though. (Consider it foreshadowing, not a spoiler. By the time I get there, y'all will have forgotten.) https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Used_Books/5512076/


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