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Synthshrine Dialogue Workshop

a guest May 21st, 2019 128 Never
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  1. [1:09 AM] Iae: Okay, let us start
  2. [1:09 AM] MerryCrono: (5 is better, the others arent)
  3. [1:09 AM] Armageddon11: (only actually played 3/4)
  4. [1:09 AM] Iae: Three quick things to talk about before we get into the meat of the workshop. These are concepts that I've mentioned before, but so that everyone is up to speed:
  5. [1:10 AM] Iae: 1. writing is governed by guidelines, rather than rules. You can break any rule, so long as you know what you're doing. The important thing is to your authorial judgement.
  6. [1:10 AM] Iae: 2. verisimilitude. What you want to write is not necessarily realism, but verisimilitude. You want writing to have that ring of truth or believability. It is true to the reality of the story and meshes with the audience’s experiences.
  7. [1:10 AM] Rei-no-Zerokami: Back
  8. [1:11 AM] Iae: 3. Doylism vs Watsonism. Essentially, that's your authorial, out-of-universe purpose vs your in-universe purpose or explanation.
  9. [1:11 AM] Iae: Keep these concepts in mind as I go through the workshop, as they will be referenced
  10. [1:11 AM] MerryCrono: good concepts
  11. [1:11 AM] Iae: So going into the purpose of dialogue briefly - we can think of both Doylist and Watsonist purposes.
  12. [1:12 AM] Iae: Things like dialogue written for exposition, characterisation, pacing, plot, tension and emotion
  13. [1:12 AM] Iae: Your Doylist purpose is often to convey exposition or plot - this is very easy, and usually how I see dialogue written on this wiki
  14. [1:12 AM] Iae: What I see less of is people writing dialogue in such a way as to develop a consistent voice for each character
  15. [1:13 AM] Iae: So I'm going to be looking at sections from various pieces to demonstrate how dialogue can be flawed, and how it can be written well
  16. [1:13 AM] Iae: Sorry, this will probably feel like me shitting on everyone's dialogue, so in future, I can tone it down if needed
  17. [1:13 AM] 8box: :umbrella:
  18. [1:13 AM] MerryCrono: :victorshorse:
  19. [1:13 AM] 8box: we'll see hwo it goes~
  20. [1:13 AM] Iae: Let's start with the basics: the components of dialogue
  21. [1:14 AM] Iae: Firstly, there is what is said. The content. This is the part most people focus on.
  22. [1:14 AM] Iae: Mostly we think about what is said – subject matter. What words would they use. Their behaviour – encouraging, questioning, derogatory…
  23. Also think about what is not said – what they would avoid, what they find taboo, what words are not or never used.
  24. You can also think about the character's truthfulness vs lying.
  25. [1:14 AM] Iae: What is said is going to be a balance between what your story is about, and what your characters are about
  26. [1:15 AM] Iae: But I think more important in developing a voice is how things are said. There are so many ways we can modulate a character's dialogue
  27. [1:17 AM] Iae: •    Word choice - what words would they choose to use
  28. •    Complexity - how simple or complex their diction is
  29. •    Modality - strength of words, e.g. "always", "maybe", "must", "can"
  30. •    Dynamics - how loudly or softly someone speaks
  31. •    Verbosity
  32. •    Repetition
  33. •    Tone
  34. •    Emotionality vs stoicism
  35. •    Silence
  36. •    Pauses
  37. •    Circumspection vs bluntness
  38. •    Length of sentences
  39. •    Jargon vs colloquialisms
  40. •    Tics and catchphrases
  41. •    Alterations in syntax
  42. •    Questions vs statements vs imperatives - is there a preference or tendency?
  43. •    Crudity and profanity - does your character swear, speak rudely?
  44. •    Use of metaphors/similes - does your character use these
  45. •    Allusions
  46. •    Whether they are literal, plain in prose  or creative
  47. [1:17 AM] 8box: Jargon is in opposition to colloquialisms?
  48. [1:18 AM] 8box: I always thought of them as similar things
  49. [1:18 AM] 8box: I suppsoe i do not know their exact meaning
  50. [1:18 AM] Iae: Jargon tends to refer to technical language, colloquialisms is slang
  51. [1:18 AM] Iae: They can overlap
  52. [1:18 AM] 8box: icic
  53. [1:19 AM] Iae: Then there are the parts around dialogue
  54. [1:19 AM] MerryCrono: aka the fun parts
  55. [1:19 AM] Iae: •    Said-bookisms - the verbs that describe how people speak
  56. •    Movement between dialogue
  57. •    Descriptions of what is happening between dialogue
  58. •    Interpretation – prose around dialogue that explains it
  59. •    The voice of the characters' thoughts
  60. [1:19 AM] Iae: Said-bookings being things like "said", "replied", "exclaimed"...
  61. [1:20 AM] Iae: Through using all of the above, you can create a consistent character voice.
  62. [1:20 AM] Iae: Dialogue is characterisation. It is a form of expression for your character and embodies their behaviour.
  63. [1:21 AM] Iae: Let’s take Emile and his character. I wrote a quick list of things that characterise his dialogue for me:
  64. •    Emile speaks softly, without much emotion. If he expresses emotion in the tone of his voice, it is almost always a mild sadness.
  65. o    Words I associate with him in speech are “murmur”, “thoughtful”, “pensive”, “gentle”.
  66. •    He is always polite, speaking with respect even to those who are below him.
  67. •    In address, he will refer to people by title or as “my son/child”.
  68. •    He likes to teach, but his method is usually to ask questions rather than pontificate.
  69. •    He is almost never condescending. Emile speaks at his own level.
  70. •    He often speaks to himself, either by murmuring or by making cryptic remarks that appear unrelated to the topic at hand – often these remarks have a scriptural bent.
  71. •    In matters of faith, he speaks with certainty.
  72. •    He says no more than he feels is necessary.
  73. •    He uses silence a lot. He waits for people to speak to him.
  74. •    He never laughs.
  75. •    He has a dry sense of humour that is observed mostly by himself.
  76. [1:21 AM] Iae: Now, not every line will communicate your character strongly. You do not necessarily need to articulate all the characteristics - I didn't have a list of rules for Emile, but I had an idea in my head
  77. [1:21 AM] Iae: ACTIVITY TIME
  78. [1:22 AM] Iae: Activity – please take a character from your story and spend a couple of minutes brainstorming a list (post here) of what makes up their voice
  79. •    8bit: Sloth or Envy
  80. •    Crono: Loeve or the Baron
  81. •    Nextoy: Hanji or Delta
  82. •    Zadi: Theo or Zadimortis
  83. •    Catuse, Pocky, Neo: welcome to characterise any of theirs
  84.  
  85. How much of it is tics or other obvious markers? How much do you think about the other techniques mentioned?
  86. [1:22 AM] MerryCrono: oooo this is fun
  87. [1:23 AM] 8box: :sup:
  88. [1:23 AM] MerryCrono: (enbii~)
  89. [1:23 AM] Reni: NB
  90. [1:23 AM] 8box: I feel like I would be appropriating enbii :stuck_out_tongue:
  91. [1:23 AM] 8box: tho she is in shelter
  92. [1:23 AM] Rei-no-Zerokami: Clair
  93. [1:24 AM] Reni: Do you want us to talk about how we have been writing them, or how we should/want to?
  94. [1:24 AM] Nextoy: I might take a bit, but I'll send mine in when I can
  95. [1:25 AM] Iae: Talk about what you think characterises their voice at present.
  96. [1:27 AM] Reni: Post here, right now?
  97. [1:27 AM] Iae: Yep
  98. [1:27 AM] Iae: RIGHT NOW BB
  99. [1:27 AM] Reni: kk, 1 sec
  100. [1:30 AM] Reni: Theo:
  101. - Has not grown to maturity yet, I tried to reflect this in his dialogue by using simpler words and, more importantly, not putting much of a barrier between his thoughts and his words. He never thinks about what he says before he says it.
  102. - Never too extreme on emotion. Even when he realizes he’s trapped inside the game still, he doesn’t get worked up over it. This is perhaps more of a personality trait than a character trait, but it came to mind.
  103. - Very plain tone. Not exactly flavorful but consistent.
  104. - Sees everyone as his equal, doesn’t judge or change his tone based on whom he is speaking to. Contributes to his plain manner of speaking as above.
  105. [1:31 AM] catuse: I have never uploaded any written dialogue but maybe I can do an old dnd villain, Lucia. (A bit awkward, as she’s voiced — and mostly ad libbed at that — rather than written, but.) while she wants to be taken seriously and respected, I meant for her to be too poorly tempered to handle that. She doesn’t finish her sentences, often cutting into shouting and then switching into a different sentence before the end. As such if she actually finishes a sentence it’s very short. Often overemphasizes nouns (I don’t know if this translates well into writing, but it’s easy when spoken) especially of who she is addressing. When especially emotional, doesn’t even finish words, only syllables. Absolute modality, doesn’t want to voice any doubt in her own righteousness (but it’s there in her tone). Totally unaware she’s in a comedy, thinks she’s in a Bible. Humorless. frequently justifies her actions by accusing others (“Migalo, you CHEATED!”)
  106. [1:31 AM] MerryCrono: Loeve, aka the "Main Character" that I felt I only scratched the surface of in his gaiden ~
  107. * Has a loud, obnoxious personality, but isn't stupid or unintelligent. Kind of moody; he just happens to usually be in a good mood, or is good enough at faking it. Witty and sarcastic, not a "childish lame joke" kinda guy like Leos of CQ.
  108. * Associated action: "chuckle", "teased", "exclaimed", "noted". Expressive body language, but is also capable of showing a bad mood by being still. Like a lot of my characters, he makes a lot of eye contact and uses it often in order to make a point.
  109. * Is surprisingly eloquent. He is definitely the type to say more than is necessary, and to use too many big words, but he isn't particularly subtle about things.
  110. * One of those "rarely serious" types. If he takes a situation without joking, it's because he's pissed or he feels he's being insulted.
  111. * A little manipulative. If confronted by someone, he'll dance around the point and ask a lot of questions to advance conversation, rather than speak on his own. He likes to use people's words against them, even when he makes it seem like he isn't really listening to what they're saying.
  112. * He laughs a lot, but is only funny in a mean, sometimes bullying way.
  113. [1:32 AM] 8box: Sloth (from Shelter of Obscurity):
  114. - States things directly,  negligible prose
  115. - Extremely casual dialect that contrasts with Enbii and Hale's; while the latter two aren't excessively sophisticated, they do have more respect for "normal" sentence structure
  116. - Hesitant to outwardly express judgement or negative opinions of others, even if he makes a mild internal judgement
  117. - Words I associate with his manner of speech: drawl, mutter, chatter, panic
  118. - A lot of what is technically internal speech as he "converses" with his clones. Short tempered/impatient with their incompetence - though they are technically him...? This contrasts with his own natural laziness and general indifference towards self-motivation except in cases of fear or necessity.
  119. [1:32 AM] MerryCrono: oh fuck me
  120. [1:36 AM] Rei-no-Zerokami: Shit
  121. [1:36 AM] Rei-no-Zerokami: Hold on
  122. 1:37 AM] MerryCrono: Baron of War Tasshon el Divrus, MC of "The Father of Silence" and secondary character of KoS; as he is in TFoS, he is more mature and experienced than he was in KoS1, but isn't the aged, grim veteran he appears as in KoS2.
  123. * Generally very quiet. He's not as pensive as Emile, and is instead someone who just doesn't like to talk any more than is necessary.
  124. * Rather emotionally guarded and serious. Even if he's amused or in a good mood, he won't really show it in his body language. Associated dialogue tags: I gave him few. He blinks and exhales through his nose a lot. His prose was not very detailed at all, either.
  125. * In writing his dialogue, I thought a lot about his volume and his pauses. He doesn't speak fast, and not very loudly. He's respectful and courteous, though, even to enemies.
  126. * Memory is very important to him. He tends to reminisce.
  127. * He is very honest and clear. He does not lead others to deception or hide his true feelings about something if asked.
  128. [1:38 AM] Reni: Zadimortis:
  129. - Tends towards fewer words, or not speaking at all
  130. - Shows emotion in his tone, very subdued but just as potent. The best analogy that comes to my mind is Argentine vs. American tango but that might not mean anything here.
  131. - Uses thicc words (limited by my own vocabulary) and some ye-olde-style swears (won’t drop a ‘fuck’ but might drop a ‘thrice-godsdamned’)
  132. - Has lots of internal monologues, but those also tend to be on the shorter side
  133. [1:40 AM] Iae: Great~. Having this kind of idea and comparing what you are writing to your idea is helpful in developing a consistent voice for your character as you pursue your Doylist purposes.
  134. [1:41 AM] Iae: (Rei, are you going to be finished soon so I can move on :?)
  135. [1:43 AM] Rei-no-Zerokami: Clair
  136. -Tries little too hard be cute and is loud and jump into things without thinking.
  137. - She bit blind on serous subject or refuse believe of the bad outcome and always think the positive outcome will happen no matter how bad it is.
  138. -She also bit aggressive to busty women due to jealously.
  139. [1:43 AM] Rei-no-Zerokami: Sorry all I can come up with, don't wanna slow it down
  140. [1:43 AM] Iae: No worries
  141. [1:44 AM] Iae: We want to use dialogue to create variation, interest and characterisation. If dialogue makes up a significant part of your work, why neglect it?
  142. [1:44 AM] Iae: Your characters are different people, so they should sound like different people.
  143. [1:45 AM] Iae: Let's have a look at this edited excerpt from The Day Hanji Was Happy
  144. [1:45 AM] Iae: "Then we’d just need to try again with Artemis in person. Bringing him to the manikin ranches might not be easy, however, due to the stories he’s undoubtedly heard about Hanji."
  145. "Wait, what stories?"
  146. "Details of your previous actions in a harsh, but honest light. Such as the time you decided the best way to help Reni train was to send him against the mob you use for Zadimortis. Which just so happens to be stronger than the usual fair. Or maybe when you decided that the best way to test Ekram’s cannons was to send a horde after him. Ah, what about when she decided to steal some of Cinis’ alchemy equipment to test on the manikins to see how they’d respond to various compositions?”
  147. "Hanji, stop. If your presence was detrimental to us, you wouldn’t be here. Seriously, it’s not as bad as you think. That’s not it at all. While it’s good someone’s watching over those manikins, your work has been helpful to us in the long run. Hey, don’t put it like that. You’re making it out to be worse than it actually is. A difference in work ethic doesn’t make you a bad person."
  148. [1:45 AM] Iae: I have merged the lines of five different characters together.
  149. [1:45 AM] Iae: And yet, these lines could potentially be said by the same person (pacing issues aside).
  150. [1:46 AM] Iae: Something is lost between the concept (which all of you guys had a good handle on) and the execution
  151. [1:46 AM] Iae: Now let's have a look at this excerpt from Julio Cortazar's Hopscotch
  152. [1:46 AM] Iae: “We were never in love,” he said, kissing her hair.
  153. “Speak for yourself,” La Maga said, closing her eyes. “You have no way of telling whether I’m in love with you or not. You don’t even know how to do that.”
  154. “Do you think I’m so blind?”
  155. “On the contrary, I think it might do you some good to be a little blind.”
  156. “Ah, yes. Touch replaces definitions, instinct goes beyond intelligence. The magic route, the dark night of the soul.”
  157. “It would do you good,” La Maga insisted as she always did when she did not understand something and wanted to cover up.
  158. “Look, I know enough to know that everybody can go his own way. I think that I have to be alone, Lucia; in all truth, I don’t know what I’m going to do. It’s not fair to you or to Rocamadour, who I think is waking up, for me to treat you so badly and I don’t want it to go on that way.”
  159. “You don’t have to worry about me or about Rocamadour.”
  160. “I’m not worried, but the three of us are getting tangled up in each other’s feet, it’s uncomfortable and unaesthetic. I may not be blind enough for you, sweetie, but my optic nerve is good enough to let me see that you are going to get along perfectly well without me. No girlfriend of mine has ever committed suicide, even though my pride bleeds when I admit it.”
  161. “Yes, Horacio.”
  162. “So if I can summon up enough heroism to run out on you tonight or tomorrow, we can say that nothing happened here.”
  163. “Nothing,” La Maga said.
  164. “You can take your kid back to Madame Irene’s, and you can come back to Paris and pick up where you left off.”
  165. “That’s right.”
  166. “You’ll see a lot of movies, keep on reading novels, you’ll take walks and risk your life in the worst neighbourhoods at the worst hours.”
  167. “Yes, all that.”
  168. [1:47 AM] Iae: In this short section, you can already see that La Maga and Horacio have very different voices. La Maga is less precise, less verbose, less intellectual; she uses emotional words that Horacio avoids deliberately – he takes refuge in scholarly meanderings rife with allusions, with words like “unaesthetic” as his denial of the emotional worry. You can see Horacio’s intelligence and his ironic humour that he uses to deflect, even when his descriptions of La Maga reveal a history between them that belies the “we were never in love”.
  169. [1:48 AM] MerryCrono: (this isnt the kind of dialogue i expected when i looked up the summary to this book)
  170. [1:49 AM] Iae: For context: La Maga/Lucia and Horacio are in a relationship. Sort of. Horacio's a bit in denial. Rocamadour is La Maga's son. They live in an apartment in Paris together. They are both bohemians.
  171. [1:49 AM] Iae: You can get a fair bit of that sense in the short section, and that characterisation is furthered by their voices.
  172. [1:50 AM] 8box: (I had assumed from the lines that there was a love triangle and Rocamadour was the other suitor that Lucia was having a more established life with >>; oops)
  173. [1:51 AM] Iae: Now that we have spent so much time talking about creating a consistent voice, let’s return to another topic: variation
  174. In the Hopscotch excerpt, you have seen how variation between characters is helpful in creating differences between them, fuelling a more interesting conversation and characterisation
  175. [1:51 AM] Iae: (lololol)
  176. [1:51 AM] MerryCrono: (i did also lmfao)
  177. [1:51 AM] Iae: Variation should also take place within the character. There should be changes during the flow of conversations or across conversations with the character – emotional variation. You do not want a flat map of tension, in the same way that the plot of a book should not be emotionally on the same plain.
  178. [1:51 AM] Iae: Variation is also used to help with verisimilitude. Real people don't talk the same way to everyone. A character should change according to age, who they are talking to, their emotional state, what they are talking about etc. whilst remaining consistent. This is a difficult balance.
  179. [1:52 AM] Iae: As an example, take Emile again:
  180. •    In “When You Were Young”, the younger Emile is still much more reserved and quiet than Osric and Petrus, but he is more talkative, light-hearted with regard to scripture/faith, his dry sense of humour more obvious. The characteristics he has are not as fully formed.
  181. •    In speaking to Osric in “The Meaning of Silence”, Emile is noticeably happier, speaks more emotionally and personally to reassure him. He smiles more.
  182. •    Compare the way Emile speaks to Petrus in “Guilt” vs to Victor in “Faithless”. Victor is a student to Emile’s teacher – addressed as “my son”, given a lesson in Emile’s fatherly tones. Petrus is Emile’s peer – and here he actually objects – argues – directly with Petrus by exchanging actual details of their respective viewpoints, which he seldom does with anyone else.
  183. •    Emile laughs once only. This is for effect in “The Desert Sun” – because of his silence on this point before, he has emotional impact in the story.
  184. [1:52 AM] Iae: Because one has created a consistent voice, variations from this norm can be used for effect in the story.
  185. [1:53 AM] Iae: In other words, altering Emile's voice fulfils both Doylist (I want to create effect) and Watsonist (Emile should speak differently according to context) purposes
  186. [1:54 AM] Armageddon11: (same, Zadi/Crono)
  187. [1:54 AM] Iae: So you can phrase these dual purposes in this simple way: What do you want to say? What do the characters want to say?
  188. [1:54 AM] Iae: Ideally, what you want to do is show both. It’s not always possible to further both plot and characterisation in the same of dialogue, but you at least shouldn’t do a disservice to both.
  189. [1:55 AM] Iae: One of the reason why dialogue on this wiki tends to be very poor is the tendency for people to do only one of these aims. Usually, it is exposition. If you write dialogue in this way – servicing characters for plot, then what you will often end up with is incredibly bland dialogue.
  190. [1:55 AM] Iae: This is an easy trap to fall into when you want to write about a particular idea and end up sacrificing everything else. It is fine to focus on one, but poor dialogue is a turn-off in the same way poor prose can be. Dialogue has to be fitted for your purpose, not ignored entirely.
  191. [1:56 AM] Iae: Let's look at The Day Hanji Was Happy again
  192. [1:56 AM] Iae: Hanji’s characterisation and change is conveyed through dialogue – albeit very bluntly. But everyone else sounds the same, because Hanji’s characterisation change is the focus. This is also because Hanji’s characterisation is meant to be incredibly obvious. We are beaten over the head with it, not just in dialogue, but in descriptions and other people’s reactions.
  193. [1:56 AM] Iae: “I… I did all of that, yeah.” She quietly admitted, keeping her face hidden from anyone else. The words came to a bit of a shock to everyone, with Sokutei looking back up at her.
  194.  
  195. “Everyone must think I’m a bitch, huh? A real maverick, just doing my own things irregards to what anyone else says or thinks.” She turned her head away from Sokutei once she felt the girl’s gaze fall back upon her. “Nothing quite says “jolly cooperation” like theft or cheating, yeah?”
  196. ---
  197. “Oh, thank you!” Now it was Sokutei’s turn to get hugged, which she took about as well as Concord. Definitely not something she’d get used to any time soon, at the very least. Although she’d love to get used to being thanked for helping out, instead of it just being assumed she can be talked into whatever’s going on.
  198.  
  199. “Your welcome…” She replied, patting Hanji’s back before gently pushing her off. Another look towards Iae to silently confirm that this was the same person, and she’d been convinced Artemis was a powerful mage of some kind to get Hanji to act this way.
  200. ---
  201. After that emotional outburst it was hard to be angry at Hanji, especially as this version of her definitely seemed more self aware than usual, but this wasn’t exactly how the lalafell had planned to spend her afternoon. If anything, this was one of the last things she wanted to spend her afternoon doing.
  202.  
  203. Worst part was having to watch Hanji wander aimlessly until she reached her destination. They hadn’t been looking for anyone in particular, worse enough, just seeing who they’d come across.
  204.  
  205. “Hey! I know who’d probably enjoy it!” Hanji blurted out upon noticing one of the doors. Iae got a worried look as she was put down, knowing exactly how this was going to go.
  206. [1:57 AM] Iae: “I just keep bothering you with stupid shit, don’t I?” Hanji asked, causing a bit of confusion to come from the fear. “Sorry about that. Really, I can’t help but to imagine how much time you have to spend on my dumb ideas already.”
  207.  
  208. A hug, apologies, and Iae’s consent? Reni asked himself, giving no reply. Am I dreaming, or did I wake up in some strange reality where this is considered normal?
  209. ---
  210. All these sections say the same damn thing, with no care for differences between characters. It's incredibly clumsy writing.
  211. [1:58 AM] Iae: Which brings me to my next point, about why this kind of dialogue is really bad
  212. [1:58 AM] Iae: People should fucking speak like people
  213. [1:58 AM] Iae: Again, verisimilitude rather than realism. They should have some connection to the reality of your work and the audience
  214. [1:58 AM] Iae: These are the common pitfalls I see:
  215. [1:59 AM] 8box: That's kind of a vague statement, tho?
  216. [1:59 AM] 8box: your people are not necessarily my people
  217. [1:59 AM] Iae: Yeah, that goes back to guidelines rather than rules
  218. [1:59 AM] Iae: And hence verisimilitude rather than reality
  219. [1:59 AM] MerryCrono: consistency
  220. [2:00 AM] Iae: You want to write in such a way that doesn't break the suspension of disbelief for your work, but that's different between works
  221. [2:00 AM] MerryCrono: super modern realistic dialogue can be out of place in different settings
  222. [2:00 AM] Iae: I'm going to go more into this, with lots of different examples
  223. [2:00 AM] MerryCrono: i catch myself writing CQ dialogue like i do KoS sometimes and it feels off
  224. [2:00 AM] Iae: So hopefully I will address some common issues here
  225. [2:01 AM] catuse: (I should probably read more dci stuff anyways but for future reference, could you pre-announce what story you’re going to use as an example? I’d never heard of Hanju before tonight so context is difficult, though I certainly see your point with it)
  226. [2:01 AM] Iae: (Sorry! Will do)
  227. [2:01 AM] Iae: Common pitfalls:
  228. People speaking like tools for the author
  229. Are cartoonish in their exaggerated tics and speech patterns
  230. (If the extent of your characterisation in language is “Fufufu!”, it is probably inadequate for dialogue. Tics and catchphrases are very blunt, lazy tools for characterising a voice.)
  231. Or they declaim everything (hi Crono)
  232. [2:01 AM] Rei-no-Zerokami: hides face
  233. [2:02 AM] Iae: Let’s look at this fragment from Father of Silence (Crono's story, which is a spin-off of Kings of Strife):
  234. [2:02 AM] MerryCrono: ( @catuse in case u need it https://dissidiacalamitasinfinita.wikia.com/wiki/User:Yuanchosaan/Story_Cheat_Sheet )
  235. Dissidia Calamitas Infinita Wiki
  236. Story Cheat Sheet
  237. Story Abbreviations Major Characters Synopsis Amelioratory Benevolence AB Vylinn, Insiminy, Fick, Xaras, Noia DSS solo. When our hearts combine, I am...a peace document that must be defended...
  238. [2:02 AM] catuse: (thx)
  239. [2:02 AM] 8box: (fufufu)
  240. [2:02 AM] Iae: “I see it in you, Tasshon el Divrus. She has stripped you of everything. There is only the hatred left. It sleeps in you still, but it is there. We will welcome it. We can rebuild with it.”
  241. “Do not ask me to kill for you. Please.”
  242. “You won’t have to. We have people for that. All you need to do is supply us with information.”
  243. “That will not be enough for long. You will have me kill. You will have me hate. Is that your way?”
  244. “No. It is the way of your Queen. We will use the usurper’s tools to dismantle the usurper’s house.”
  245. “You are wrong. The Queen does not thrive only on hate or only on the desire to kill. She is not evil.”
  246. “It is evil to summon wars, to command and conquer, and to ruin. She has done nothing but. You think she cares for this world. You are wrong. Just another brainwashed Imperial.”
  247. [2:03 AM] Iae: I liked what Crono said about his characterisation of Tasshon's voice
  248. [2:03 AM] Iae: But in this excerpt, every single line a similar structure. Almost everything is in a single clause. The content differs – but the way the content is expressed is very similar. These people are not talking to each other; they are declaiming to each other. There is no real rhythm or response to the prose.
  249. [2:04 AM] MerryCrono: i do notice that, actually .-.
  250. [2:04 AM] Iae: Let's go back to Hopscotch. This passage is a bit later than the other one:
  251. [2:04 AM] Iae: “Well, anyway,” Oliveira said, “I think we ought to be congratulated on our savoir faire.”
  252. “I feel so sorry for you, Horacio.”
  253. “Oh no; hold it right there.”
  254. “You know that sometimes I really can see. I see things so clearly. To think that an hour ago I thought the best thing to do would be go jump in the river.”
  255. “Body of an unidentified woman found in Seine… But you swim like a swan.”
  256. “I feel sorry for you,” La Maga repeated. “I can see now. That night we met behind Notre-Dame I also saw that… But I refused to believe it. You were wearing a lovely blue shirt. It was the first time we went to a hotel, wasn’t it?”
  257. “No, but that doesn’t make any difference. And you taught me to speak Gliglish.”
  258. “If I were to tell you I did it all out of pity.”
  259. “Come off it,” Oliveira said, looking at her with surprise.
  260. “You were in danger that night. It was obvious, like a siren in the distance… I can’t explain it.”
  261. “The only dangers for me are metaphysical,” Oliveira said. “They’re not going to haul me out of the water with grappling hooks, believe me. I will explode from an intestinal occlusion, the Asian flu, or a Peugeot 403.”
  262. “I don’t know,” La Maga said. “Sometimes I think about killing myself, but then I can see that I wouldn’t do it. Don’t think that’s it only because of Rocamadour, it was the same before he came. The idea of killing myself always makes me feel good. But you never think about it… Why did you say metaphysical dangers? There are also metaphysical rivers, Horacio. You’re going to jump into one of those rivers.”
  263. “It would have to be the Tao,” said Oliveira.
  264. [2:05 AM] Iae: “I thought I could have protected you. Don’t tell me. Then right away I saw you didn’t need me. We made love like two musicians who got together to work over some sonatas.”
  265. “What you’re saying is delightful.”
  266. “That’s how it was, the piano on one side and the violin on the other and out of that the sonata came, but you can see now that underneath it all we never really met. I realised it at once, Horacio, but the sonatas were so beautiful.”
  267. “Yes, love.”
  268. “And Gliglish.”
  269. “Sure.”
  270. And everything, the Club, that night on the Quai de Bercy under the trees, when we hunted stars until dawn and told stories about princes, and you were thirsty and we bought a bottle of expensive champagne, and we drank it on the riverbank.”
  271. “And then a clochard came along and we gave him half the bottle.”
  272. “And the clochard knew a lot of Latin and Oriental things and you were talking to him about something like…Averroes, I think.”
  273. “Yes, Averroes.”
  274. [2:05 AM] Iae: The conversation has changed from the previous, whilst still being true to their different voices - La Maga's vagueness and emotionality; Horacio's ironic humour and detachment.
  275. [2:06 AM] Iae: There's real variation in how they talk through the conversation. They bounce off each other. Horacio protests, then is more distant, then drawn in again. They respond to each other, reference each other’s lines, share a past that they allude to.
  276. [2:06 AM] MerryCrono: off-hand questions and quick answers, varying clause length, pauses, ellipses, emotive reactions... i see
  277. [2:06 AM] MerryCrono: good shit
  278. [2:07 AM] Iae: I think an important lesson is that variation is not a good in itself (guidelines vs rules again!)
  279. [2:07 AM] Iae: They have to be consistent
  280. [2:07 AM] Iae: Going back to Father of Silence, shortly after, one of the characters says:
  281. [2:07 AM] Iae: "“Our sweet, strong, old Inusia, with its supple, enduring earth; its forests of evergreens and its green mountains, its winds of ancient and fruitful glory. Its heat drenched days and its nights of peaceful autumn winds. Its honey-sunrises and the intimate sunsets on its black coasts. She has killed them all. She has forced their silence. I can’t hear the ghosts of my sons or my husband. I can’t even look wistfully at the land stolen from beneath me. I can’t look fondly on the home taken from me, because it has all crumbled and been buried beneath snow and her Empire. All that is left for us are scars on our hands from the burying of our dead. Scars on the terra from the falling of the snow. She made an empire on the suffocation selfishness of snow. She has killed even the rain. She has silenced the dead. She has erased our fields, made illegal our history. She has stilled the seas. Her men have marched on our bodies. Your men have marched on our bodies. Your men have carved out our graves and made city beneath them. Your men took our heartland and made throne out of its ribs. Your war burned our cities to ash and then burned that too. Your empire made a coronation ceremony out of our funerals. Her empire was built out of all our children while your people sung a language we taught you in triumph. Her new empire rose beneath clouds heavy with blood and tears the Goddess did not dare let fall. She ordered even the Goddess to abandon her sorrows for us. She robbed us of even our mourning and our right to be mourned for. Made it a capital crime to mourn. To be born enemy. She claimed to fight a war two thousand years in the making, for a country we raised up from dirt and cracks in the ground and conquered fairly. She killed her own parents just to gain the emotional strength necessary to cause the deaths of our innocent families and to crack open the skies.”"
  282. [2:07 AM] MerryCrono: (didnt expect u to get to the wall so quickly, lol)
  283. [2:07 AM] Iae: Where did all this sudden eloquence come from? How does it make any sense in the context of everything the woman has said previously (simple, single clause sentences)? Why is she speaking like a Walt Whitman word association poem?
  284. [2:08 AM] Iae: The answer is that Crono wants to write like this. The character becomes your mouthpiece. What she is saying is simply how you wish to write prose. It has more in common with Ragna-Vara’s similarly metaphor-strewn speech:
  285.  
  286. "I look at my hands; I crumble. Overhung above me is an ocean of blood. I will not drown. Not yet.
  287.  
  288. Walking again. Some of the dreamers leave, ahead or behind me, to go to their families and their beds and join their dreams in sleep. I see vanity in everything. I watch some of them and taste desire. We humans built to produce, to perform, to perpetuate. There is night outside now, and the fog that never ends. That mist hovers around the necks of the towers and almost asphyxiates. I find this the most striking the sky ever can be. I almost reach up, until the sight of my hands dry my lips and take my breath. I am going to kill a prisoner next. It will not be the first or the last man i kill. I am being paid a year of salary for it.
  289.  
  290. I wish I could harbor greed in my heart. This emptiness will never bloat me. I have seen many gorged on their avarice. They seem... Happy. I have held treasures once, but they meant nothing to me. Where is the beauty in something that will fade? What good does gold do, sitting in a room, eroding? Dead things have no appeal to my eyes. Beauty is disinterested, apathetic, but it is alive.
  291.  
  292. Like a rose, I will live and die beautifully."
  293. [2:08 AM] Iae: …And Ghost-Queen. A similar pattern of short sentences, the focus on “you did”, “I did”.
  294.  
  295. “You left me. Everyone left me. My mortal vessel began to falter. My work was not finished. If I perished, my empire would not be eternal. My people would not live forever. So I had to be eternal for them. It was the only goal left. With the strongest magic in the world I made seven thrones and prepared for my body to be reconstructed in a thousand years, when my descendants would falter again. When it was complete I relinquished my soul and let my vessel die. I was supposed to rule forever when my time came. I was supposed to rule my empire forever.”
  296. [2:08 AM] Iae: The cadence of these pieces is really similar, even if the perspective and content changes somewhat
  297. [2:09 AM] Iae: I think Crono's writing has improved a lot, and I respect the style. However, I think that it demonstrates the real dilemma of balancing your authorial voice with your characters' voices - and this balance changes depending on context.
  298. [2:10 AM] Iae: In a short, poetical piece, this works really well - so I think Ragna's rant is more effective than a longer piece, where having dialogue in this style ends up being very tedious to read.
  299. [2:10 AM] MerryCrono: (its Ragya)
  300. [2:10 AM] Iae: (Sorry)
  301. [2:10 AM] 8box: Are you saying that the similarity in cadences between the pieces is not necessarily a bad thing, but if it's in marked, disconcerting contrast to the way the character has been speaking immediately previously, it can be?
  302. [2:10 AM] catuse: (Another “selfish” observation: this marks a difference between role play and prose. If an NPC was to start monologuing they’d just get interrupted, so high eloquence is impossible)
  303. [2:10 AM] MerryCrono: (sorry i thought it was a typo at first but then it started to bother me lol)
  304. [2:10 AM] Iae: @8box Precisely
  305. [2:11 AM] Iae: Crono broke his character to write what he wanted to
  306. [2:11 AM] 8box: How can we more elegantly deliver a contrasting moment like what you said with Emile laughing?
  307. [2:11 AM] MerryCrono: mmm yeah so this fits RV more since he's consistently written like that, but lady in TFoS was just weird all of a sudden
  308. [2:12 AM] Iae: Making sure it fits in the context of the story, both plot and emotionality. Making sure that it's a moment that is adequately built up - it's got to be climatic for both the character and the author.
  309. [2:12 AM] Rei-no-Zerokami: Everything I see Ragna I think one of from Blazblue if not shorten name of Ragnarok
  310. [2:59 AM] Iae: His father dies whilst he is busy being a butler
  311. [3:00 AM] Rei-no-Zerokami: But it not 200%
  312. [3:00 AM] Iae: Stevens lies throughout the entire book. Even in that line, he begins again immediately to lie to Miss Kenton about his feelings.
  313. [3:00 AM] Iae: But he has ceased to lie to himself (and thus to the reader)
  314. [3:00 AM] Iae: It's a very tricky, neat work - you, the author, need to make the character lie
  315. [3:00 AM] Iae: Everybody lies
  316. [3:01 AM] Iae: What does this mean?
  317. [3:01 AM] Iae: Characters lie, both deliberately and without meaning to. They lie to themselves, to others, to the reader. They also do not know exactly what the author knows (common pitfall in exposition!)
  318. [3:02 AM] Iae: Ask yourself, “does it make sense for the character to say these things?” Should they vomit out their feelings directly without a care for who the listener is, or with little prodding? Should they really know what they are expositing? Would they say it like this?
  319. [3:02 AM] Iae: Consider if the character is even someone who would be able to verbalise their emotions and thoughts coherently. One of the biggest problems of having people vomit their motivations is that it makes everyone seem like they think in the same way – able to psychoanalyse themselves and verbalise their issues in a big dump. You damage that consistent character voice when you do that.
  320. [3:02 AM] Iae: Think back to Horacio and La Maga – Horacio able to precisely state his issues (albeit with misdirection), whilst La Maga wavers and uses bizarre metaphors as she tries to pin down the issue. They think and are dishonest in different ways.
  321. [3:03 AM] Iae: Returning to Zadi's question about exposition now, because this often an area in which writers fail to account for their characters lying:
  322. [3:03 AM] Iae: The principle is that exposition has to make sense in the context of both the characters and the plot
  323. [3:04 AM] Iae: Easier to say what to avoid than what to do first:
  324. [3:04 AM] Iae: o    Random paragraph infodump, often written in a voice entirely different to the characters’ usual one.
  325. o    Character who exists only to infodump
  326. o    Characters suddenly vomiting their backstory or motivations on other people
  327. o    The conversation suddenly becoming a Socratic dialogue.
  328. o    Infodumps that are not integrated into the story.
  329. [3:05 AM] Iae: As with breaking character, you need to have exposition make sense both in terms of character and plot.
  330. [3:05 AM] Nextoy: (Sorry for the delay, I'm back now. Want me to respond to previous stuff or just start chiming from here on?)
  331. [3:05 AM] Iae: (Chime in from here, I think)
  332. [3:05 AM] Iae: As a counterpoint, think about how infodumps are presented in Scientist and the Sea / Nobody’s Safety Guaranteed:
  333. [3:05 AM] Nextoy: (Also funny you mention avoiding characters who exist only to infodump, since that was legit Hanji's entire point in Old Alto. Accidentally made her an actual character.)
  334. [3:06 AM] Iae: The Doylist reason is I need to infodump the characters. The Watsonist approach is to integrate this into handovers early on in the story (fitting the medical setting) and to use it as a tool of characterisation and tension (e.g. Huang vs David at the café, David speaking to Leslie or Evie).
  335. [3:06 AM] MerryCrono: mmm
  336. [3:06 AM] MerryCrono: that part about different characters not even being able to word vomit - thats a great point, i hadnt thought of it like that before
  337. [3:06 AM] Iae: When they speak about needed information, it’s often tangential – David or other characters hint at things without stating them outright, or withhold information for different reasons (Evie because she doesn’t understand and is focused on David, Huang because she’s fiercely private and protecting herself and Chen, Morn is taciturn, David because he’s a dick).
  338. [3:06 AM] Iae: Yeah, that's actually a part of considering the voice of my character
  339. [3:06 AM] Iae: Like Emile could definitely verbalise his purpose, but David is shit at it
  340. [3:07 AM] Iae: Rather than infodumping it all at once, consider how you can integrate parts of it into the story as you go
  341. [3:07 AM] Iae: I have a principle to help me with this purpose, and with writing effective dialogue in general
  342. [3:07 AM] Iae: Every line of dialogue should say something other than what it says on the surface.
  343. [3:08 AM] Iae: That is, it should say something about the character, or contribute to pacing, or to tension, or convey emotion, or actually mean something more or else, or...
  344. [3:08 AM] Reni: I'd imagine one would need to use this principle carefully
  345. [3:08 AM] Iae: Actually, I think this is a really good aim to have
  346. [3:09 AM] Iae: It's not going to hold 100%, of course
  347. [3:09 AM] Iae: But every line of dialogue should count.
  348. [3:09 AM] Iae: And count for more than just one thing.
  349. [3:09 AM] Nextoy: Actually, that's very similar to common advice given in the movie industry.
  350. [3:09 AM] Iae: Coda puts it as "every line should add to the story"
  351. [3:10 AM] Nextoy: Every point of dialog should add to the scene, every scene should add to the story, and anything that doesn't achieve either should be either removed or rewritten until it does.
  352. [3:10 AM] Nextoy: Or something like that.
  353. [3:10 AM] Iae: Yep!
  354. [3:10 AM] Iae: Excellent principle to have
  355. [3:11 AM] Iae: If the dialogue added is solely for exposition, then it's probably bad, boring dialogue
  356. [3:11 AM] Iae: The last main part of my dialogue workshop is about writing politics
  357. [3:11 AM] Iae: This is where the "everybody lies" thing goes to absolute hell on the wiki
  358. [3:12 AM] Iae: Crono has heard this from me about Conquest approximately 15 billion times :stuck_out_tongue:
  359. [3:12 AM] Iae: Authors here are trying to write experienced, sophisticated politicians, but also have to juggle having them communicate the plot and their intent in a manner that is both interesting and clear to the reader. The end result is often that it’s impossible to buy the character as a good politician, because they express their intentions right out, are randomly rude, and incredibly easily manipulated into showing emotion or their hand.
  360. [3:13 AM] Iae: An unpublished draft from Nextoy:
  361. [3:13 AM] Iae: Saturnius: And tell me, what’s your business here?
  362. Kaeber: I’ve heard word that you seek a grand kingdom spanning the world. Is this true?
  363. Kaeber rises back to standing, being met with only a proud nod from Saturnius.
  364. Kaeber: In that case, I’ve come with an offer. As this is a crazed, turbulent world, I will offer you no resistance on one condition: That you ignore the lands I lay claim to for the time being.
  365. Saturnius laughs for a brief moment, with Joy’s intrigued smile growing.
  366. Saturnius: So what, I allow you to grow in power? Is that all?
  367. Kaeber: Well, I suppose that’s one way to look at it.
  368. Saturnius: And how would this benefit me?
  369. Kaeber: Would you truly waste manpower and resources just to deal with someone who has no interest in expansion?
  370. Saturnius doesn’t initially respond, thinking on it for a moment.
  371. Saturnius: Tell me, what’s the goals of your empire?
  372. Kaeber: A world where those who do not wish to can avoid war and violence. One where an elite group can defend the great thinkers. Where sciences and philosophy are put at the highest priority.
  373. [3:13 AM] Iae: Saturnius: And how would such a kingdom be defended?
  374. Kaeber: You’re looking at how it’ll be defended.
  375. Saturnius narrows his eyes, looking upon the foreign lord before him. At the baggy clothes, disheveled hair, short yet unkept beard, and defiant eyes. Kaeber looks up in turn. The two stare at each other as a third man walks in, watching the scene from afar.
  376. Saturnius: Do you truly believe one man can defend his people from harm?
  377. Kaeber: As things stand now, yes. But I will be seeking allies for a defensive force. Perhaps even you, so long as I’m not expected to bend my knee.
  378. Saturnius: You know that eventually your kingdom will one day face mine. Why should I humor someone who shall be defiant to my empire?
  379. Kaeber chuckles before giving his answer, raising his hands up in a shrug.
  380. Kaeber: In truth, the only advantage on your end is that I’m something to be put on the backburner. Sure, I’m probably something you could crush in an instant. Take me out here and now before rolling through. But I’m someone who can be reasoned with, and that at least says more about me than many of the gods of this world.
  381. Saturnius: Very well. You make a good point, and your goal is noble to say the least. Though I wouldn’t suggest taking this kindness as an excuse to do as you please.
  382. Kaeber: Of course not. If I am to ever breach the contract we made today, I wouldn’t argue against your right to retaliation. Although that does go both ways. I don’t want to see an army lined up at my doorstep.
  383. Saturnius: I suppose nobody would. But I can’t simply leave you unchecked.
  384. [3:13 AM] Nextoy: (oh no)
  385. [3:13 AM] Iae: These people are supposed to be experienced leaders! And yet their emotions are plain to see, they speak totally openly of their plans, they don’t use any kind of court language to communicate respect to another leader. There is no effort from Saturnius to mask his thinking or intentions – all he does is feed direct questions so that Kaeber can exposit what Nextoy wants in his plot. What’s more, it’s really boring, because there is no sense of shifting powerplay to draw our interest.
  386. [3:14 AM] Nextoy: Now here's the kicker: I actually wrote this with the thought in mind that Kaeber was the only person showing any noticeable amount of emotion.
  387. [3:15 AM] Iae: There is also very little attempt to incorporate characterisation into the characters' speech, since the conversation is so focused on getting exposition out from Kaeber.
  388. [3:15 AM] Iae: I'm going to explore an excerpt from The Golden Fool, a fantasy novel by Robin Hobb
  389. [3:16 AM] Iae: It describes an important political encounter. The viewpoint character is Fitz, a bastard royal prince employed as an assassin.
  390. [3:16 AM] Iae: He is witnessing an encounter between a number of trade delegations, focused on the marriage of the Narcheska (13 years old) with Prince Dutiful (16 years old). Kettricken is the queen overseeing it.
  391. [3:17 AM] Iae: “I am so pleased you have joined us,” Kettricken said graciously in a low voice. There was genuine welcome in her tone.
  392.  
  393. I thought for a moment that I saw a flicker of doubt pass over the Narcheska’s face. But then her resolve seemed to harden. When she spoke, her young voice was clear, her enunciation crisp, and her voice pitched to carry. They were not private words she spoke. “I am here, Queen Kettricken of the Six Duchies. But I fear I have begun to have doubts that I will ever truly join you, as wife to your son.” She turned then, and her gaze slowly swept the assembly. Her father was sitting very straight. I surmised that her words were a surprise to him, one he sought to cover. The initial look of shock on the Queen’s face had been replaced with a cold and courteous mask.
  394.  
  395. “Your words disappoint me, Narcheska Elliana Blackwater of the God Runes.” That was all Kettricken said. She spoke no question that would have invited a reply. I saw Elliana hesitate, fumbling for a way to begin her planned speech. I suspected she had expected more of a reaction, a demand for explanation. Lacking that introduction, she had no choice but to tone her words to meet the Queen’s attitude of polite regret. “I find that this betrothal does not meet my expectations, which are those of my mothers’ house. I was told that I would come here to promise my hand to a king. Instead I find my hand offered to a youngster who is but a prince, not even the King-in-Waiting, as you term one who learns the duties of his crown. This is not to my satisfaction.’
  396. [3:18 AM] Iae: So both parties begin immediately by acknowledging each other's political power and status. It's useful in this novel that Fitz interprets everything - we, the reader, see how meaning is communicate behind the careful political words.
  397. [3:18 AM] Iae: Kettricken did not reply immediately. She let the girl’s words die away. When she did speak, it was with simplicity, as if she were explaining something to a child who might be too young to understand it. The effect was that of a mature and patient woman addressing a wayward young girl. “It is unfortunate that you were not taught our customs in this manner, Narcheska Elliania. Prince Dutiful must be at least seventeen before he may be declared the King-in-Waiting. After that, it is up to his dukes to decide when he may be crowned as a full king. I do not expect it will take long for him to earn that responsibility.”
  398.  
  399. She lifted her eyes and scanned her dukes and duchesses as she spoke. She honoured them when she acknowledged their role and they were sensible of that. Most of them nodded sagely to her words. It was smoothly done.
  400.  
  401. I think Elliania sensed her moment slipping away from her. Her voice was just the least bit shrill and she spoke perhaps a second too soon when she said, “Nevertheless. If I accept my betrothal to Prince Dutiful now, none can deny that I am taking the chance of binding my fate to a prince who may never be declared King.’
  402. [3:19 AM] Iae: There is a big power gap between these characters. Hobb uses the exchange to further characterise the two women - the impetuous princess and the queenly older woman.
  403. [3:19 AM] Iae: Kettricken is far more experienced than the Narcheska, and it shows
  404. [3:20 AM] MerryCrono: very true honestly
  405. [3:20 AM] Iae: As she drew breath. Kettricken quietly interjected, “That is most unlikely, Narcheska Elliania.”
  406.  
  407. “Nevertheless!” the Narcheska said again, and this time her accent flawed the word more sharply. I could see her losing her aplomb, but she ploughed ahead stubbornly. Doubtless this speech had been practised endlessly in her room, but now it was delivered without finesse or gestures. It was only words, pebbles hurled in desperation. Doubtless many thought it was to save herself from the betrothal. My suspicions were different. “Nevertheless, if I am to accept this custom of yours as good, and give my promise of marriage to a prince who may never become a king, then it seems to me fair and good that in return I ask him to honour a custom of my land and people.”
  408.  
  409. Kettricken held her calm almost effortlessly. ‘Perhaps that might be acceptable,’ she said quietly, and again it sounded as if she were indulging a child. ‘Would you care to explain this custom to us?’
  410.  
  411. Narcheska Elliania seemed to know that she was not showing well. She pulled herself straighter, and took a breath before she spoke. ‘In my land, in the God Runes, it is customary that if a man seeks to marry a woman, and the woman’s mothers are uncertain of his blood or his character, then the mothers may propose a challenge to him whereby he can prove himself worthy.’
  412. [3:20 AM] Iae: There is variation in this passage that is totally lacking in Nextoy's story. The conversation is moving, Elliana's words are shifting. The tension in it is changing - we can see it's going somewhere.
  413. [3:21 AM] Iae: And there it was. Insult bald enough that no duchy would have blamed their queen if she had immediately voided the betrothal and alliance. No, they would not have blamed her, yet in the faces of more than one pride warred with the possible loss of trade profits. Eyes flickered as dukes and duchesses silently conferred with one another, faces set in stillness, mouths flat. But before the Queen could even draw breath to compose a reply, the Narcheska added to her words.
  414. [3:32 AM] Iae: Sometimes I feel like I repeat myself too much in structure of dialogue. I am afraid of becoming boring and not knowing enough different ways to write.
  415. [3:32 AM] Iae: I get really paranoid about too many untagged lines
  416. [3:32 AM] Iae: Conversely, I also get worried that I don't put enough description between my dialogue. I don't integrate that well enough yet.
  417. [3:32 AM] MerryCrono: relatable @ the untagged lines
  418. [3:32 AM] Iae: I get paranoid about my said-bookisms.
  419. [3:32 AM] MerryCrono: i read a Faulkner book and was so lost and disgusted by his writing style lmfao
  420. [3:32 AM] Iae: I get paranoid about all writing things >_>
  421. [3:32 AM] MerryCrono: so im super attentive to that kind of stuff
  422. [3:33 AM] MerryCrono: (u are a lil paranoid <<)
  423. [3:33 AM] Iae: I get paranoid about breaking character to deliver exposition - I think I could probably allow a bit more exposition to seep through
  424. [3:33 AM] Iae: I think about a lot of stuff as I write, haha
  425. [3:34 AM] Iae: How long my sentences are, every piece of punctuation, repeated words, length of paragraphs, clause structure, alliteration, how many adverbs and adjectives...
  426. [3:34 AM] Iae: Sometimes I will stare at one line and remove and replace a comma 3-4 times, haha
  427. [3:35 AM] Iae: As for dialogue and prose - I don't have a preference. I enjoy writing both.
  428. [3:35 AM] Nextoy: If I thought about stuff like that while I wrote I probably wouldn't publish anything.
  429. [3:35 AM] Iae: People write differently - some people do this more consciously as they edit.
  430. [3:35 AM] Iae: For me, all of it is kind of semi-conscious. I do my editing as I write
  431. [3:36 AM] Iae: (Which is a thing I am working on! Conquering my apprehension about editing)
  432. [3:37 AM] MerryCrono: I think writing style has a pretty big hand in personal writing flaws tbh
  433. [3:38 AM] Reni: (I will use this opportunity to slep, thank you again for hosting, I have taken copious notes)
  434. [3:38 AM] MerryCrono: i tend to write in big bursts of vomit and kinda go with the general flow of a scene idea, which is why my dialogue often doesn't sound realistic or well paced
  435. [3:38 AM] MerryCrono: i gotta go out of my way to say it out instead of just imagining stuff lol
  436. [3:39 AM] Iae: Oh, I'm going to add the end bit of that Golden Fool scene because it's really fun
  437. [3:39 AM] Iae: ‘And!’ Prince Dutiful shouted into the din. Something in the set of the lines around his eyes warned me.
  438.  
  439. ‘Eda, mercy,’ I prayed, but knew no god or goddess would stop him. There was a wild and stubborn gleam in his eyes, and I feared whatever it was he was about to say. At his shout, the uproar in the Great Hall quieted abruptly. When he spoke again, his words were pitched for the Narcheska. Nonetheless, in the brimming silence in the room, they carried clearly.
  440.  
  441. ‘And I’ve a challenge of my own. For if I must prove myself worthy to wed the Narcheska Elliania, who has no prospects of being Queen of anything, save that she give her hand to me, then I think she must first prove herself worthy of being a queen of the Six Duchies.’
  442.  
  443. Now it was Peottre’s turn to startle and then grow pale, for the words were scarcely out of the Prince’s mouth before Elliania replied, ‘Call me this challenge, then!’
  444.  
  445. ‘I shall!’ The Prince took a breath. The eyes of the two youngsters were locked. They might have stood in the midst of a desert for all the care they took for the rest of us. The glance between them was not fixed, but alive, as if for the first time they saw one another as they clinched in this battle of wills.
  446. [3:39 AM] Iae: ‘My father, as you may know, was “only” the King-in-Waiting when he embarked on a quest to save the Six Duchies. With little more than his own courage to guide him, he set forth to find the Elderlings that would rise to our aid and end the war your people had forced upon us.’ The Prince paused, almost, I think, to see if his words had struck home, but Elliania remained icily silent in her stern contemplation of him. He cut on. ‘When months passed and no word was heard from him, my mother, who by then was the besieged but rightful Queen of the Six Duchies, set out after him. With but a handful of companions she sought and found my father, and aided him in waking the dragons of the Six Duchies.’ Again, that pause. Again, Elliania refused to put words in it. ‘It seems fitting to me, that as she proved herself by joining my father’s quest to wake the dragons, so you should play a similar role in my quest to slay your country’s dragon. Go with me, Narcheska Elliania. Share the hardship and witness the deed you have laid upon me. And if, in truth, there be no dragon to slay, witness that.’ Dutiful spun suddenly to the room and shouted, ‘Let no man here ever say it was the will of the Six Duchies alone that slew Icefyre. Let your Narcheska who has commanded this deed see it through beside me.’ He turned back to her and his voice dropped to a sugary whisper.  ‘If she dares.’
  447.  
  448. Her lip curled in disdain. ‘I dare.’
  449. [3:41 AM] Iae: t e n s i o n
  450. [3:41 AM] Reni: I would have thought that active third-party narration in that sort of style would get old/grating after a bit, but it's done exquisitely here
  451. [3:42 AM] Reni: I also enjoy the phrase "sugary whisper"
  452. [3:42 AM] Reni: it's so abstract but you can perfectly imagine what it sounds like in your head
  453. [3:42 AM] Reni: okslep4realthank
  454. [3:42 AM] Iae: Night!
  455. [3:45 AM] MerryCrono: naito~
  456. [3:52 AM] Iae: @Nextoy What was your tangential question?
  457. [3:53 AM] Nextoy: Currently typing it up on a separate thing.
  458. [3:53 AM] Nextoy: Less of a question and more a comparison to what was discussed and something that I feel like it'd be worth analysing.
  459. [3:54 AM] Nextoy: As I am abslutely terrible at not talking in paragraphs
  460. [3:58 AM] Nextoy: Honestly the main two things I'm taking from this is that I have no clue how people actually talk, and that I'm rather blind to variation.
  461.  
  462. For example, when you mentioned that hopscotch scene showing variation compared to my Hanji fic, I couldn't tell the difference. Both of them felt to me like they were written with the same amount of variation in character voice. So whatever I was supposed to immediately see, just simply doesn't show up.
  463.  
  464. If anything, the main thing I'm seeing is that La Maga feels inconsistant with how she speaks. Or, more accurately, with the way she suddenly decides to not talk at all. I'm sure this is intended to convey the emotion of the scene, but it just feels offputting.
  465.  
  466. On the other side of things, I rarely write anyone to speak in a way that I find unrealistic. With a few exceptions, usually being intentional, everything I've written was in a way I'd expect a person to talk.
  467.  
  468. Comparing The Remains of the Day with The Golden Fool is a good way for me to explain this.
  469.  
  470. The way Stevens speaks is grating, sure, but it is clear to me that he's just trying to meet some weird expectation he put on himself for how he's supposed to behave. And I find that absolutely fascinating to read because of how it clashes with the rest of the scene.
  471.  
  472. Meanwhile, I can't stand reading the political nonsense in The Golden Fool because it feels like they're just banging on about local legends and traditions. Prince Dutiful at least has the decency to be crisp with his responses to things, and the fact that he says so little not only feels more realistic but speaks volumes compared to the endless rambling of the two women speaking to him.
  473. [3:59 AM] Iae: Would you mind if I address this in PM?
  474. [4:00 AM] Nextoy: Go ahead
  475. [4:04 AM] 8box: One question I have is how to handle prose that differs in voice with characters' style of speech, since this is an environment I find myself in a lot
  476. [4:05 AM] 8box: Where I feel that I am illustrating the way people think or move, or describing the world, and when characters speak it is not in this voice at all. I think Shelter is a good example of this, since Hale/Sloth/myself speak differently.
  477. [4:06 AM] Iae: Do you mean that you are writing the prose in a third person perspective that is not the perspective of the characters?
  478. [4:07 AM] 8box: Yeah so for example:
  479.  
  480. The mists partially receded, causing him to feel strangely exposed. Around him stretched the same decrepit landscape, as if he had made no progress at all. Come on, I’ve been climbing for hours! He kicked a tuft of snow sidewards in annoyance, prematurely deleting a set of bisected tracks veering off the steps and leading towards...
  481.  
  482. Only after a few seconds of surveillance did crystalline gears somewhere behind the mask click languidly into place. Ah.
  483.  
  484. The phantom snake of a blue-grey tail, slashing patterns in the snow, occasionally obscured the back of the figure behind it. Without the contrasting background of gaunt trees, he might have missed it; against the sparse, sepia copse, the Drakenaer’s shape was unmistakable. The rhythmic lashing of the tail in time with each thud solved the mystery of sound: the swing of an axe against a tree.
  485. [4:08 AM] 8box: (forgive my editing)
  486. [4:08 AM] Iae: I think this is related to the idea of third person perspective - whether it is limited or omniscient
  487. [4:08 AM] Iae: Not sure if you have heard of this concept?
  488. [4:08 AM] 8box: I think I understand what limited vs. omniscient is
  489. [4:09 AM] Iae: I think the most important thing is to be consistent
  490. [4:09 AM] Iae: It is okay, imo, to have a perspective that is mostly flavoured by one character's perspective but is not exactly their voice
  491. [4:09 AM] Iae: Your prose is a combination of your unique voice and the voice of that character's, then
  492. [4:10 AM] Iae: So you'd be comparing what you are writing to that kind of guideline, in the same way you might compare dialogue to your guideline for that character
  493. [4:10 AM] Iae: If you are using more of an omniscient perspective - or shifting between them - then you might alter your description voice to fit each character more as you focus on them
  494. [4:11 AM] Iae: I think your writing is fine here. It is influenced by Sloth, but not entirely his voice.
  495. [4:11 AM] Iae: I have more problems when it is too ornate and distanced, e.g. in some of the parts in Ex Nexo
  496. [4:12 AM] Iae: Where it feels very distance or even contrasting to the character's voice
  497. [4:12 AM] 8box: Yus, when I go off into my technomajikk opaque-eye mode
  498. [4:14 AM] Iae: I am not sure that actually answers your question at all :grovel:
  499. [4:17 AM] 8box: It's good to know that much of the 3rd person illustration in Shelter works!
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