Following the Script

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who wasn’t actually there?  You’re keyed up and you want to unload.  You talk to them—maybe out loud, maybe in your head.  You tell them a thing or two.

Then, in real life, when you’re finally face-to-face, when you finally get your chance to tell them off, the person who has you so keyed up goes off script.  They say something you weren’t expecting.  They say something you don’t know how to respond to.  Everything went so well when you’re playing both sides.  But now everything is just off the mark.  Your carefully crafted lines lack the punch they had.  Some are useless.  Some argue points that are no longer in contention.  It’s a bit of a mess.

As much as we want to give our characters a script and as much as we expect them to stick to it, so they can offload successfully, part of the reason we expect this of our characters is because we so rarely get the satisfaction in our real lives.

Which offers the great sense of reality?  Which offers the great tension and continuity for your characters?

Offloading is cathartic.  We want life to stick to the scripts we write.  We especially want that for our characters.  But does it do them justice?

About Stephanie Allen Crist

Stephanie created and produces in answer to a call from God to use her experiences and gifts to help others. Stephanie is also the author of and two books that can be found on that site. Stephanie strives to share her love, faith, and talents in an inclusive manner to help others who know spiritual pain and who know the bitter taste of the dregs of despair.
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4 Responses to Following the Script

  1. acflory says:

    lol – I’ve given up trying to make my characters stick to a script. I have tried, but what usually happens is that they either sulk, or sneak in something I didn’t know that completely changes things, and I realise they’re right. The script goes out the window. Ah well, you have to be flexible in life and in writing!

    • Flexibility is very important, no matter your process. I still find myself reading dialogue that is overly scripted, though.

      I find myself thinking, “You know, I’ve been there and I’d have loved to get in that verbal jab, but that’s not how it would have happened.”

      You just don’t want readers thinking like that when they’re supposed to be in your story.

      • acflory says:

        True. I’m better at dialogue than I used to but I still prefer to keep it short and sweet[ish]. Easier on readers and easier on me. 😉

  2. Short is good. I tend to be better at introspection myself.

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