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Share a quote from your characters

Dialogue tells us a lot more about characters than just what they’re saying and the kind of mood they're in. 

The words we put in a character’s mouth give our readers an insight into his/her personality. They help us get to know and understand that person better. If readers like what’s said (and the way it’s said), they’ll feel more connected and therefore more involved in the story as a whole.

Besides, from a personal point of view, making up dialogue is one of things I enjoy most about the writing process.  

With that in mind, I thought it might be fun to share some of the things we have our characters say.

To start us off, here are some one-liners from Snowy, the talking cat in my MG urban fantasy, Fur-Face:

“I don’t beg. I just let them feed me sometimes…when I’m starving…or hungry…or feeling a bit peckish.”

“How would I know how to work a computer? I’m a cat. The only hacking I do is when I need to get rid of a fur-ball.”

“Bill, it’s the middle of the night, I’m a black cat, wearing a pair of sunglasses. How much more camouflaged could I get?” 

Hopefully, if I’ve done my job right, any one of those sentences should show a little of Snowy’s character, even without narrative.  

How about you?  

What have your creations been saying and what does their dialogue say about them?

Care to share?

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( 118 comments — Leave a comment )
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Apr. 17th, 2010 03:38 pm (UTC)
A good topic -- as always. And quite illustrative of *your* character ;p
Apr. 17th, 2010 07:42 pm (UTC)
Lol :)
Apr. 17th, 2010 03:58 pm (UTC)
My main character said this to his psychologist when she ordered him to come in for therapy.

“This is crazy. I’m not even Gavin. He’s in Hell. Hanging from Dread’s balls.” Caym bit his lip.

This tells us he's very sensative and very defensive. And 'Balls' are actually Grated Iron Orbs that hold souls.
Apr. 17th, 2010 03:59 pm (UTC)
Oh... and I loved your lines... in partcular the second one about the sunglasses. Funny!
(no subject) - jongibbs - Apr. 17th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - out_totheblack - Apr. 17th, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 17th, 2010 04:06 pm (UTC)
Great sentences, Jon :-)

Here's Ally, complaining about the chap she's seeing, after finding that he's not online for her to ignore...

“Not the point. He’s supposed to want to talk to me. I haven’t told him I’m not talking to him, so why the hell doesn’t he want to talk to me?”
Apr. 17th, 2010 04:32 pm (UTC)
I think you're channeling my 17 year old daughter.
(no subject) - jongibbs - Apr. 17th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 17th, 2010 04:26 pm (UTC)
The character in this story is off stage, so to speak, and only her voice is heard. She is not described physically. Her three lines of dialog define her:

“Walter, bring the chicken livers back up here right now.”
“Are you decorating your grandfather with Christmas tree lights again?”
“Dinner is almost ready. All of you come and wash up.”

How's that for succinct yet telling bucket loads?
Apr. 17th, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC)
I especially like the one about the Christmas tree.

Thanks for sharing :)
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Apr. 18th, 2010 01:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - quill_quirks - Apr. 18th, 2010 03:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Apr. 18th, 2010 10:11 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - out_totheblack - Apr. 18th, 2010 07:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 17th, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC)
LOL, cool. For some reason the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland keeps floating in my head.
Apr. 17th, 2010 07:44 pm (UTC)
Now there's a character :)
Apr. 17th, 2010 04:36 pm (UTC)
Yes, I think that shows Snowy's personality.

I don't think this line shows my protagonist's personality but I sort of like the line.
“They’re migratory birds, Tilly. I’ll have to build one hell of an extension for them to feel free.”
Apr. 17th, 2010 07:45 pm (UTC)
I dunno, I'd say that tells us he's patient, yet not afraid to use mild sarcasm :)
Apr. 17th, 2010 05:08 pm (UTC)
Cassandra walked up to him and slapped him across the face. “Ow!! What was that for!”

“For being part of this.For calling me a thief!”

“I’m sorry, Cassie, but you have to admit, you are a thief.”

“I-do-not-steal. I merely acquire mementos of my clients, nothing to valuable or that will be missed.”

“Oh, yeah. What about that small silver statue of the little drummer? That has been in my family for centuries!

“That old thing? It looked like it had been through a fire. I didn’t think it was important at all.”


“Well, I only took it because I thought it was old and not important. I wouldn’t have taken it if I’d known it was important.”

Apr. 17th, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - jongibbs - Apr. 17th, 2010 07:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - out_totheblack - Apr. 18th, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 17th, 2010 05:17 pm (UTC)
Stanley kissed her suddenly.

"G-bye, luv," he said softly. "I'm off to potter about the skies a bit."

She smiled. The English phrases twanged in his Yankee drawl were ridiculously endearing.
Apr. 17th, 2010 07:47 pm (UTC)
An American with an English accent. It's not Dick Van Dyke is it? :P
(no subject) - msstacy13 - Apr. 17th, 2010 07:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 17th, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
“Oi, Percy,” Ellie shouted as they got the last one down. She grabbed a piece of paper and jumped out of the lorry. “Sign for your thunder boxes, eh?”

“What if I don’t?”

“Then the War Office considers them stolen, Military Intelligence sends someone round, and you lot are hanged for sabotage. Save us the bother, right?”

“Right, then,” he said, signing the paper. He handed it back to her. “Now get off, you useless cow.”

She got back into the lorry and started it.

“Bloody sods,” she muttered as we drove away. “Some appreciation? Eh? Thank you, Miss, for driving across the bloody no man’s land of bloody Flanders so we can stop shitting on our bloody floors. Eh?”

“What’s a sod?”

“Sodomite, you stupid cow! You don’t have them in America?”

“Don’t call me a cow!” I screamed. “Did I call you anything? Is this my war? Is this my city? Don’t call me stupid, either!” I screamed again.

She stopped the lorry, and I realized that screaming had done nothing to relieve my headache.

“It’s not your city,” she said quietly. “Or your war.”

“That’s not what I meant,” I said, beginning to cry. “It’s our city. Our war.”


I nodded.

“Could I have the bathwater first this week?” she asked.
Apr. 17th, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC)
Bathwater first? Now that takes me back, and not in a good way - I'm one of seven :(
(no subject) - msstacy13 - Apr. 17th, 2010 07:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - out_totheblack - Apr. 18th, 2010 07:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - out_totheblack - Apr. 18th, 2010 07:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
Thank you. - msstacy13 - Apr. 18th, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Thank you. - out_totheblack - Apr. 18th, 2010 09:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 17th, 2010 05:47 pm (UTC)
The morning the quarantine was lifted, Katie recogized the hansom cab belonging to Jarrod's attorney as it came up the road. At once, she ran out to the tobacco field where Ishamael was driving the field slaves. He saw her racing toward him, and his jaw dropped open. He gaped stupidly at this peculiar sight.

"We're free!" she gasped, barely able to speak from her shortness of breath.


"Free," she repeated. Then she gasped in another breath and continued excitedly. "Your father. In his will. Before he died. Told me that I and my children. Would be freed when he passed."

Ishmael, still gaping, began trembling as well.

"The attorney." She went on. "He's coming up the road. He's bringing our manumission papers. Get your brothers and sisters. Come to the big house."

"What about the nigras in the field?"

"They'll get a new overseer soon enough!" she shouted this, suddenly angry. "We have to get out of here before anyone thinks to stop us." As she walked back to the big house, Ishmael did as he had been told.

As she approached, she noticed horsemen and hounds spreading out, moving along the perimeter, but she was too excited to give them any thought. She noticed a wagon pulling up behind the hansom cab, but didn't think about it, either. When she was close enough to converse, the attorney reached into the pocket of his coat and asked her if she was familiar with the terms of Master Wentworth's Last Will and Testament.

"He had told me that I was to be free," she answered, "I and my children."

"Those were his wishes, yes," he replied, "however--" at this point, he quickly brought handcuffs from his coat pocket and had them on Katie's wrists before the next word came from his lips. "--you are legally still the property of his wife. Her guardian has instructed me that the lot of you are to be sent to Virginia immediately."

"What?" she asked. Before anyone could hear her question, let alone answer it, Wesley was brought out of the house, carried by two white men who held him by manacles and leg irons.

"You can't enslave me!" he shouted. "I was born in England! I'm a subject of Queen Victoria! I am a free man!"

"You're black as soot," replied one of the white men, "and we got a bill of sale. That makes you an American nigra, and a subject of the law we enforce. In you go." With that, the two men swung him and flung him into the wagon. He landed with a thump and a groan, and Katie suspected he had spoken his last.
Apr. 17th, 2010 07:52 pm (UTC)
A bit too much narrative in there to judge accurately, but there's certainly some interesting conflict going on there :)
Apr. 17th, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC)
“The Webley-Fosbery is the only revolver I know of that has a safety catch,” Mary Grayson, of ballistics, told me.

“Aren’t you in arson?” I asked her.

“That’s my sister-in-law,” she said. “I married her brother.”

“Ah.” I nodded. “You were saying?”

“The Webley-Fosbery is the duckbill platypus of pistols.”

“It’s Australian?”

“English,” she replied, perhaps not getting the joke, or not thinking it was funny. The fresh coffee had just finished brewing, so I went to get us each a cup. It wasn’t far from my desk to the coffee maker, but she waited for me before continuing.

“Black?” I asked.

“I’m not certain about that,” she replied, “but I think the thirty-eight was only produced with a brown hand grip.”

“I meant the coffee.”

“Oh.” She laughed. “Yes, black.”
Apr. 17th, 2010 07:54 pm (UTC)
Hehe, you can't go wrong with two people having the same conversation, but different :)
(no subject) - msstacy13 - Apr. 17th, 2010 08:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 17th, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC)
A character of mine, named Garth, a reluctant knight from a long line of mages (long story, short pier), in regards to an Inn where he saw a picture of a camel on the front (and later learned that the place was actually called the Dromedary Inn). It's more internal than external, but it still makes me smile.

Camels were a fairy tale; and the fairies telling them were none too sober.

Something to that effect, anyway. And if you're writing fantasy, why can't we base some of their fantasy on "real world" stuff, right? XD

Apr. 17th, 2010 06:08 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - snapes_angel - Apr. 19th, 2010 07:20 am (UTC) - Expand
and speaking of spam (without a stick) - msstacy13 - Apr. 19th, 2010 09:59 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: and speaking of spam (without a stick) - msstacy13 - Apr. 19th, 2010 03:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Apr. 17th, 2010 07:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snapes_angel - Apr. 19th, 2010 07:19 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 17th, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC)
The two characters from The Collector are in Physics class working on a project using balsa wood:

“Your hand is on my stick,” he says with a smirk. He meets my pull with his own tug.

I tug it toward me. “You don’t know what to do with it.”

He gives a strong tug, pulling me toward him, raises his eyebrow and says, “I assure you, I know what to do with it.”

Edited at 2010-04-17 06:18 pm (UTC)
Apr. 17th, 2010 07:54 pm (UTC)
Innuendo and doobal-ontonders, always good :)
(no subject) - tracy_d74 - Apr. 18th, 2010 01:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Apr. 18th, 2010 01:40 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tracy_d74 - Apr. 18th, 2010 01:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - out_totheblack - Apr. 18th, 2010 07:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 17th, 2010 06:23 pm (UTC)
Oh! I really liked yours, very funny. Nice play on words with "hack."
Apr. 17th, 2010 07:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you :)
Apr. 17th, 2010 07:35 pm (UTC)
"It is not a magic wand. It is an anomaly compass."
-- Oranaan in "It's Not Magic, It's Science!" in Torn World

"She said once that our lives are like the song of the wind as it flows down the mountain, through the willows and the spruces, down to the sea. Not even the wind knows what its song will be until it gets where it's going. I think Oromaal's life made a happy song."
-- Fala in "The Song of the Wind, the Sigh of the Willows" in Torn World

"These teeth, like stars, guide us on our way and light our path through dark times. They symbolize the love and trust our children place in us. This is why we measure our success by the number of teeth we bear."
-- Oyera in "These Teeth, Like Stars" in Torn World

"I'm rich now, Erwen. That was rather the whole point. I'm going to take the money and leave. I think I'll become a perfumer. I am so tired of being a whore, but I've seen how the idle rich live and it would bore me to death. I want to do something interesting for a change."
-- Marlinia in "The Political Courtesan Strikes Back" in The Lorelei Signal

“Bottom line, gentlemen. How do we protect our country? How do we protect our planet?”
-- President Adelaide Feldhaker in "Clean Sweep" in The Lorelei Signal

"I was twelve years old when the first of my seven brothers died."
-- Haylaa in "Peacock Hour" in Triangulations: Taking Flight
Apr. 17th, 2010 07:56 pm (UTC)
Re: Okay...
They're all good, though I think Marlinia's line says the most about her character.

Thanks for sharing :)
Re: Okay... - ysabetwordsmith - Apr. 17th, 2010 08:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Okay... - jongibbs - Apr. 17th, 2010 08:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Okay... - ysabetwordsmith - Apr. 17th, 2010 08:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Okay... - jongibbs - Apr. 17th, 2010 08:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Okay... - ysabetwordsmith - Apr. 17th, 2010 08:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
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( 118 comments — Leave a comment )

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