I was bantering back and forth with a friend of mine, and we were getting quite snarky (go figure) with our emails. It was a game of one up-manship, and - please hold your applause - I won! Woo-hoo.
The whole banter back/forth thingy made my brain cells do the funky synapse dance that they like to do when I'm, well, thinking!
And, the result of the funky synapse dance (similar to the funky chicken, but with out the arm flapping thingy) is this question: do your characters banter?
I've written about character dynamics before, and other character things as well. For me, characters often become alive - i'm a real boy, i'm a real boy - for me when the characters banter. They seem more real.
So, are your characters alive? Do they banter back and forth, do their ears hang low, do they wobble to and . . . dratted Walmart commercial!!! Arrrgghhh! Or, are your characters just listlessly immersed in the pages of your brilliance? Do they need a little bang for their buck? Do they need a little salt with their pepper?? Is the cool missing from their whip?
If you answered yes to any of those questions . . . please join me in the loony bin!! Kidding.
I know the whole point of dialogue is to propel things forward, a natural progression, and all that jazz, but I firmly believe that the quirkiness of your characters, their inner snark so to speak, must shine forth as well. People have hum-drum conversations everyday. I don't bother to eavesdrop on those conversations. No fun, no fun at all. I love to eavesdrop on snarky conversations. I often find myself laughing at something that the people I'm eavesdropping on say.
I laugh at conversations between characters in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. LOL! ROTFLOL!!!
I laughed a few times today with the snarky email banter between a friend and I. I've forwarded that email home so I can include the banter in some future novel. Why? Because, if I do say so myself, there's a vibrancy that shines forth in the back/forth emails. There's a sense of me, and my friend, in the back/forth banter. There's a sense of, well, character.
So, my challenge to you . . . go read the conversations between your characters. Do you sense the characters in those conversations? Do the conversations give you a sense of the characters? Do the conversations seem alive and vibrant or dull and listless? If you were a fly on the wall . . . would you eavesdrop on said conversations, or fly off to irritate somebody else?
As for me, if I input said email banter/conversation into say, Margarita Nights, and was reading said banter/conversation . . . I'd LOL. No, I'm not tooting - okay, maybe I am - my own horn, because I only wrote 1/2 the conversation. Said snarky friend also wrote 1/2 of the conversation. Still, 1/2 + 1/2 = 1 Funny Email Exchange . . . at least in my opinion.
p.s. no, i'm not going to post the conversation on the blog . . . well, at least not today.
p.p.s - since I'm all about linking this week. Go and check out Nathan Bransford's post about themes schmemes!
p.p.p.s - check out Janet Reid's post about notes from the effective query class at SCWW