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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 07:41 pm (UTC)
And this from F. Scott Fitzgerald
"Shall we all go in my car?" suggested Gatsby. He felt the hot, green
leather of the seat. "I ought to have left it in the shade."

"Is it standard shift?" demanded Tom.


"Well, you take my coupé and let me drive your car to town."

The suggestion was distasteful to Gatsby.

"I don't think there's much gas," he objected.

"Plenty of gas," said Tom boisterously. He looked at the gauge.
"And if it runs out I can stop at a drug store. You can buy anything at a
drug store nowadays."

A pause followed this apparently pointless remark.

As it happens, this remark is far from pointless.
The thing is, we don't know what Tom knows,
but this remark reveals that knowledge to Gatsby.
We find out later.
Apr. 17th, 2010 07:58 pm (UTC)
Re: And this from F. Scott Fitzgerald
Interesting. I guess I'll have to read the book to find out, right? :P
Re: And this from F. Scott Fitzgerald - msstacy13 - Apr. 17th, 2010 08:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: And this from F. Scott Fitzgerald - mtlawson - Apr. 17th, 2010 08:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: And this from F. Scott Fitzgerald - jongibbs - Apr. 18th, 2010 10:13 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: And this from F. Scott Fitzgerald - mtlawson - Apr. 18th, 2010 11:56 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: And this from F. Scott Fitzgerald - jongibbs - Apr. 18th, 2010 03:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 17th, 2010 07:49 pm (UTC)
These words are said by one feisty lady who has just got back into town and found her boyfriend is in jail and doesn't need to be.
'Men, always so caught up with your pride and respect, the gestures you require to assure you of your positions. There is a time for gestures and there is a place. That time has gone and the place is not here. You have polished your pride until it shines like the harbour light, but what is it achieving now? Nothing.'
What does it tell us, other than there's no chance of him getting any love tonight? Well, it suggests that other things are not as he imagines, and that it might not necessarily be him who saves the day.
Apr. 17th, 2010 07:57 pm (UTC)
I like that one :) What's it from, Martyn?
(no subject) - martyn44 - Apr. 17th, 2010 08:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Apr. 17th, 2010 08:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 17th, 2010 08:06 pm (UTC)
That's not pathetic. I LOVE awful puns :)
Apr. 17th, 2010 08:19 pm (UTC)
Here by Way of ysabetwordsmith
From Holt City Heist

"Well, look what the Dutchman dragged in." I turned to face Detective Brad Weisman at his desk across from my door. "Think he could be wearing an otter hat than that?"

"Great pun, Weisman. Keep that up and you might live up to your name."

"Is this the visiting dignitary the Captain mentioned, Dutch?" he asked.

"Yeah. Detective Weisman, meet Kawauso Ofuroyama." Weisman looked over the big otter, showing a smarmy grin.

"Nihonese, eh? You some kind of martial arts hotshot?" Ofuroyama bowed.

"Yes. Once Southern Honshu Sumo Grand Champion," the otter replied, his whiskers twitching.

"So what's the best technique to use if you're trapped in a dark alley at night, Sumo Champ?"

"Juni kakkouhou," Ofuroyama replied, his tail briefly thumping the floor in time with his whisker twitches.


Workboots lunged. I sidestepped and swung the lead-weighted leather down on his wrist and the knife skittered across the flagstones. The blackjack caught Workboots on the back of his head on the return swing, and he dropped. Weisman was running towards us and I saw a gunmetal grey glint aiming at my head.

Lightning flash and thunderclap Boom! Boom! and Tweeds flew backwards to thump at Weisman's feet. Dimsdales feet disappeared briefly, then staggered back into the light, He sank to his knees, and fell face-first onto the flagstones of the alleyway.

"What the hell was that?" hollered Weisman. Ofuroyama stepped into the light, a sawed-off 12 gauge over-under in his paws. He thumbed the lock and broke it open, pulling two spent shotgun shells out the breach.

"Juni kakkouhou, Weisman-san. Most effective," he said, reloading the shotgun and closing it with a snap.

Weisman shook his head. "I'll say."

Edited at 2010-04-17 08:19 pm (UTC)
Apr. 17th, 2010 08:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Here by Way of ysabetwordsmith
Hehe, I like that Ofuroyama.

Thanks for sharing :)
Re: Here by Way of ysabetwordsmith - madshutterbug - Apr. 18th, 2010 02:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Here by Way of ysabetwordsmith - jongibbs - Apr. 18th, 2010 03:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 17th, 2010 08:31 pm (UTC)
Heehee, Snowy's personality comes through loud and clear! i also dig that he's a black cat named "Snowy" ;)
Apr. 17th, 2010 08:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks, there's even a valid reason for it :)
Apr. 17th, 2010 08:45 pm (UTC)
Oh, hell, I'll play too. This is from a yet untitled work (although Tracy keeps pestering me to title the darn thing):

“I was unaware that I’d acquired a mistress,” he said finally.

She gave him a glare. “A message arrived for you from Esmerelda.”

“A message? Here? Don’t tell me that everyone knows about this place.”

“So you do know her, then.” Her voice was like ice.

“Yes, I do. She’s provided a lot of useful information to me.”

“And apparently more than just information.” She stood up, flung a letter at him, and stalked away. Even from where he lay, Marcus could tell that the message was scented.

Apr. 18th, 2010 10:14 am (UTC)
Nice. I like that 'scented' touch at the end :)
(no subject) - mtlawson - Apr. 18th, 2010 11:59 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - out_totheblack - Apr. 18th, 2010 07:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mtlawson - Apr. 19th, 2010 01:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tracy_d74 - Apr. 18th, 2010 07:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mtlawson - Apr. 19th, 2010 01:17 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tracy_d74 - Apr. 19th, 2010 01:57 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 18th, 2010 10:14 am (UTC)
Re: Snowy sounds--
But in a good way, right? :)
(Deleted comment)
Re: Snowy sounds-- - jongibbs - Apr. 18th, 2010 03:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 17th, 2010 10:21 pm (UTC)
Cool post, Jon! Here's a couple from my latest novel, Petrol Queen.

He sighed dramatically. "I suppose you want to get paid."
Corona winked. "I don't do felonies for free, you know."

and (a mother to her teenaged daughter)

"So, you've discovered fucking," Ziane Kont said, ensconced behind her desk.

Edited at 2010-04-17 10:23 pm (UTC)
Apr. 18th, 2010 10:19 am (UTC)
Nice. I misread 'felonies' for 'felons' the first time I read it, which gave me a totalyy different (and wrong) impression aof Corona :)
(no subject) - marshallpayne1 - Apr. 18th, 2010 11:58 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 17th, 2010 11:39 pm (UTC)
Another great post!

Here's one bit showing the evolving relationship between a kidnapped boy and a man who had been his enemy but is becoming his friend:

Christopher spoke again. “Robert?”
“Who will they give me to, when we get to your holding?”
“I don’t know,” Robert said. “It’ll be up to Adeliza to decide.”
Christopher thought this over. “Could she decide to give me to you?”
Robert tightened his arms around Christopher for just a second, and then relaxed them. “No. Children are given to women to raise, and I have no wife.”
“Never mind. Whoever it is will be a good mother to you.”
Apr. 18th, 2010 10:25 am (UTC)
Touching. I like it :)
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 18th, 2010 10:27 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing :)

I especially like that first one.
Apr. 18th, 2010 01:38 am (UTC)
Ethen's answer to the man hiring him to find and return his runaway slave girl:
"I’ve lived on the Strip my whole life. Slaves are part of my everyday, though I’ve never had the means to own one myself. There’ve been slaves in Therk since long before I was ever born. That’s not going to change whether or not I have an opinion, so I don’t have one.”
Apr. 18th, 2010 10:29 am (UTC)
Says a lot about Ethen, Therk, and the world they live in. Nicely done :)
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Apr. 19th, 2010 02:12 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tracy_d74 - Apr. 18th, 2010 08:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Apr. 19th, 2010 02:12 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tracy_d74 - Apr. 19th, 2010 02:14 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Apr. 19th, 2010 02:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tracy_d74 - Apr. 19th, 2010 02:20 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Apr. 19th, 2010 03:29 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 18th, 2010 02:38 am (UTC)
Your dialogue works great for characterizing the cat, and reveals tone and a bit of plot, though I know nothing about the novel. Fun post.

I'll be back with snippets of dialogue from one of my character (or post on it) if I can sneak in a little more free time tonight.
Apr. 18th, 2010 10:30 am (UTC)
I look forward to reading it :)
Apr. 18th, 2010 04:30 am (UTC)
I love the cat's dialogue. Very sane for a cat... I looked around for some good dialogue. I don't think too hard when I write dialogue, it just kind of comes so I don't know if it's any good. An interesting topic to consider....

Fragment: "Last Call", Frey (one of his many alternates):

“This isn't Vegas, I know you're not on at the Bellagio.”

“Don't tell me he's the fat mob boss? Does he have an accent too?”

“Woops, I think I just lost control of my bladder. Probably from being punched and all.”

Dialogue he has with the antagonist:
“You're a whore?”
“No, you misunderstand. I'm a god.”
“Okay, and you're bad shit insane too hu?”

This isn't really "self-revealing" dialogue in the sense that he's saying "I'm not that kind of person, I'm this kind of person..." The only thing he really states about himself when talking to the antagonist is that he has audacity instead of pride.

I have other stories with more characters and more quotes. One character, named Aurora, has good quotes. But if I were going to post all those I would put it in my own journal. Thanks for inviting us to share. It's fun :)
Apr. 18th, 2010 10:35 am (UTC)
I especially like that mob boss line :)

(no subject) - lavericknine - Apr. 19th, 2010 12:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Apr. 19th, 2010 11:06 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 18th, 2010 02:19 pm (UTC)
This is from a short sci/fi piece I wrote called INTERLUDE.

“But I think it is my business.” Blade spoke matter-of-fact. “You are a criminal, and it is my job to hunt down and capture criminals. Therefore, knowing who and what you are, it only stands to reason that what you do to sustain your disreputable lifestyle would be of great interest to me.”

Apr. 18th, 2010 03:50 pm (UTC)
Good one :)
Apr. 18th, 2010 03:09 pm (UTC)
One of my three leads just came up with this:

It may take some time for that, Mr. Johnson. I was not planning to be plucked from my deathbed by some shadowy force insisting my intellect was vital to the future of the world. I am, after all, a poet.

I think I'm going to enjoy this story.
Apr. 18th, 2010 03:52 pm (UTC)
Interesting set up.

Thanks for sharing :)
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