Tag Archives: dialogue

Gone Fishin’: An Authentic Male Voice

Legend has it that some mermaids were benevolent creatures, granting wishes to sailors who helped them.

I’ve assembled a panel of real guys and today, I’d like to welcome one such brave former sailor to Waterworld Mermaids.  I hope all his wishes come true for helping me out with today’s blog.  Fellow mermaids and guests, let’s give Cody a warm welcome!

I recently provided Cody with a few scenarios and asked him to tell me straight up—what would a real guy say and do in these given situations?  I was curious to know if I was tapping into an authentic male perspective in my writing.  So he graciously accepted the mission and in my opinion, blew it out of the water!  Without further ado, I give you Cody, 37, outdoor enthusiast, federal agent, good guy.

Warning: As I said above, I asked Cody to be blunt in an attempt to give an authentic perspective.  Some portions below may be unsuitable for younger readers.

Scenario: Two city guys are at a bar, slightly intoxicated.  One has just been dumped unexpectedly by his pregnant girlfriend.  His buddy is there for him, drinking as well, but trying to stay slightly more sober for when they need to leave.  What would the buddy possibly say to his friend who just got dumped?  Let’s say he knows the girlfriend and she’s generally not a witch.  (I know what girls would do; they would be very consoling and compassionate.  But would two guys be that way?)

 CodyFirst off there is a myriad of different outcomes to your scenario.  It all depends on the guys.  You could write this any way you wanted, really.  The dumped guy could really be devastated by the incident if he genuinely wanted a family. So, he could be really distraught, or he could be relieved that he didn’t have to settle down and start a family; furthermore he could be angry and vindictive.  The friend could be all of these as well.  It all depends on the morality, upbringing, demeanor etc. of the guy’s character that you have developed.  So don’t have a tough, street hardened, emotionless guy sobbing in his beer that “he just isn’t good enough for her”, or “what am I going to do now that she’s gone”, you get my drift.  Likewise for the friend.  They could talk about different hair-brained schemes (and yes guys do this) to try and get her back.  Or the friend could be like ” Dude, forget that bitch.  I’m taking you to a titty bar.  You need to let off some steam and forget about that dumb &%$@% and find somebody new!”  Sadly I’ve seen this exact scenario go both ways. 

 In general, I am curious to know the following: (fill in the blank)

What would a real guy say:

 Cody’s Answers:

 –At a guy’s night out when he sees his ex walk in with someone new——-It depends on the age of the guy believe it or not.  A young guy with no real responsibilities would probably confront the NEW guy and start a fight because he really wants her back but won’t admit it and tries to show it by being the ALPHA and essentially win the girl back.  Never the less he is young and doesn’t know the first thing about women and thinks this will work, which it won’t.  An older more mature guy, set in a career that he cannot afford to lose wouldn’t do this (unless he is just wired that way and has a temper).  He would probably just comment to his buddies that she is really scraping the bottom of the barrel with the new guy, or he could catch her on the way to the bathroom to “try and talk some sense into her” and possibly back to his place because he doesn’t currently have anyone.  Or he could really care less because he has moved on.

 -While sitting on a boat fishing with his buddy——–Man take your pic!  Anything goes.  Just remember that if these guys are on a lake in their own boat they are probably not gonna be talking about politics or the stock market, or fashion.  Unless they are talking about the lack of clothing on the girl working at the bait shop they stopped at that morning!  Sports is always a good call.  More times than not they would be talking ABOUT FISHING.  What bait works best, what their dad taught them to use etc.  But usually the conversation turns to “So did you hook up with that chick last night or what…..”

 –When he knows a good buddy of his is being a jerk to his girlfriend———Again this depends on the guy’s character, what his buddy was actually doing, and how good of a friend his buddy is.  Is he a lifelong best friend?…..Or just his buddy.  He may tell him to knock it off, or he may just leave it alone because he knows his buddy better than anybody and he knows that he didn’t mean it.

 Last one…..do guys really cuss that much in their everyday conversations?  Are there times when it’s guaranteed that you’re going to use profanity?  ———-YES, but once again it kinda depends on Age, Military service or not, people around, the presence of women etc.  Speaking from experience, young military guys can’t help it.  It’s just part of you.  Guaranteed, if you’re in a bar, playing sports, or just hanging with your boys because nobody cares.

 Thanks for helping this mermaid out!   Please feel free to comment and thank Cody!


Project: The Desert

Deadline:  Aug. 31, 2011

New words: 0 today but it’s early!

Present word count: 296




Opening Salvo

My boyfriend Joe (whom some of you may know as The Fairy GodBoyfriend) and I were talking in the car Saturday morning on the way home from the Adam Ezra concert in Lancaster, PA. Thanks to a considerable lack of both sleep and caffeine I can’t remember what got us onto the particular subject, but Joe made a comment about how he’s not a real talkative fellow. He’s just not the kind of guy who goes out of his way to introduce himself to everyone at the party. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Like everything men say, Joe’s statement is true…to a point. Joe has no problem talking to strangers. None at all. In fact, he enjoys it. If I ever leave him by himself at a party–or a line at Best Buy–he will inevitably be chatting with the person next to him upon my return. He’s not antisocial; he just doesn’t make the first move.

Joe has two major advantages: 1.) He recognizes and accepts that he is not the kind of guy who makes the opening move and 2.) He has an incredibly dark, sharp, and dry wit. So here’s what Joe does. He stands alone, aloof, watching the world around him. Inevitably something happens, about which Joe makes a fabulously snide comment that would have Lewis Black and Denis Leary fighting for a pen to write down. Someone within earshot hears this comment and laughs. Nine times out of then, this person comments back to Joe.

And lo, the conversation has started.

As I write this now, it occurs to me: I’m not even sure Joe realizes that he does this. It’s just second nature to him. People all over the world wrestle every day with how to start a conversation–whether it’s with the cute girl at the bar, or the electric company representative on the phone. I grew up in a clique of nerds and continue to frequent science fiction conventions like they’re going out of style. I am constantly surrounded by the socially awkward (and I treasure every single one of them). If these folks only knew Joe’s secret! (Many of them do–they’re just not as witty as Joe.)

As writers, some of us struggle with dialogue. What’s the first thing your character says? What is she reacting to? What is he wondering about? Is it something important, or is it just there to move the plot along. Is there more story being told between the lines, or is it just a bunch of lame tagging? (I hate “stage directions”.) Worst of all–is it there at all, or are you just telling us that someone spoke? (Show! Don’t Tell!)

For some of writers, dialogue is second nature. It flows off the tongue like water off a duck’s back. (Granted, those of us usually have issues elsewhere–like with descriptions. Oh, descriptions, how you are the bane of my existence!)

Dialogue is the lifeblood of your story. It tells the reader what your character sounds like–the cadence of his voice, the tone she uses, the slang words, the colloquialisms. Dialogue tells us how your character feels about other characters, and about the world in general. It tells us how your character would react given a certain situation. (Don’t go for the obvious reaction–go crazy! It’s more fun!) Dialogue makes your character allies and enemies. It burns bridges and mends fences. It is–usually–where we fall in love.

I fell in love with Joe, after all.

But every conversation has to start somewhere. What are your opening salvos? What do they say about your character? What’s your favorite snappy bit of dialogue?