Writing Tip: Character Arguments

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Today’s post comes from author and blogger Joanna Wallace. She gives us a great tip on using arguments to explore character depth. You can find more advice and wonderful posts about the writing process on her blog,  Joanna’s Story.

You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter @JoannasStory

First, I’d like to thank Ben for allowing me to guest post on his blog. I hope you find this topic useful, to help create conflict with your characters. This exercise also helps pen dialogue and can add more depth to your story.  How do you achieve this? Make your characters argue.

People fight about anything and everything. It could be love, a disagreement, different viewpoints, what to make for dinner, chores, a life or death scenario, the list goes on.

Whenever I hit a snag, I’ll image my characters arguing. What do they fight for? How do they speak and act? Are they a pushover or do they stand up for what they believe in? This has helped me add plot twists as well.

Even if you’re a writer who likes to outline, create a new page and make them bicker with someone. It may tell you more about the character than you know. You could even speak the dialogue aloud. If you do this in a coffee shop, you may get some strange looks, but that’s what writing is about. Creating emotion and making the reader feel it. They also need to believe it.

Does anyone else use this writing exercise? Let me know what you think.

Thanks again to Ben for letting me post!

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5 thoughts on “Writing Tip: Character Arguments

  1. shobasadler says:

    Very interesting. Create fight scenes to learn more about your characters. I guess that is why conflict is so important in novels as the character’s reaction to that conflict and choices he makes tells us more about who he is.

    Like

  2. Adam says:

    This one is new to me, but it sounds pretty interesting. I imagine a lot would depend on who they’re arguing with, and what restrictions exist. I’ve definitely written a few characters who couldn’t debate to save their life, but they could easily knock someone out in one punch.

    Another technique I’ve heard of is the cocktail method. Essentially, put your character into a cocktail hour situation and see how they make small talk. Or force them to wait in a room and see what they do to kill time.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Adam says:

        Lately I’ve been toying with a new one as a way to get to the core of the character, 4 questions:

        1. What does the character yearn for/want to accomplish, achieve, or become?
        2. What hinders the character, what makes this an ongoing struggle?
        3. What does the character wish to avoid or escape?
        4. What is the character’s cardinal sin?

        It doesn’t flesh out the character the way these others do, but I think it’s interesting.

        Like

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