Laconic characters make me work too hard.
Probably this isn’t true and it is more that because the laconic character isn’t verbalising every thought that may cross their mind I have to think long and hard about how to convey emotions, feelings, thoughts and the character of the individual. I have come to the realisation that I rely on dialogue to convey so much of my characters.
I discovered that I really enjoy writing dialogue when challenged on webook to write a short story using dialogue only. The description for the project included the line ‘exposition is for wimps’. The process of telling an entire story through character dialogue, without tags, was fascinating and interesting. Finding just the right words for a character to say to express everything and to describe a setting and give a sense of movement, without having the character dive headfirst into a monologue, was a fantastic experience. It made me think long and hard about every line and every word.
Reverse the situation.
Write a short story using at least three characters and no dialogue. Totally possible and yet my efforts are flat and dull and the characters are boring and generic. I revise, look at every single line, map out what I want from each character and where I want the story to go. Read through and tweak it all again. Final reading, boring. The story I constructed is good. There is a clear and interesting plot but without the dialogue the characters are distant and without connecting to the characters the story just passes me by.
Usually this doesn’t bother me as I just make my characters verbose. However, in one of my many works in progress, I described a character as laconic. She was supposed to be. It very much defined her. Then I reread the ms. Wow, she talks a lot for a laconic character. Time to revise but now I have to really work at bringing out her character without her speaking. Which brings me back to the original statement that laconic characters are making me work way too hard, or maybe they are just forcing me to think about what I’m writing.
Comments are closed.