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OC Minitips #3: Speech Styles [+ Quiz]
Online 11-01-2017, 04:37 PM
Reply: #1
OC Minitips #3: Speech Styles [+ Quiz]
OC MINITIPS: SPEECH STYLES
Well shit, call me Dust Crusher and give me a cleaning kit, it's time to dust this series off for another instalment. This one's going to be just a touch different than the norm, because I'm going to be giving a whole bunch of examples in this one in the form of a quiz. So grab your no. 2 pencils and get ready to solve for x, we're diving into the world of speech styles.

One of the biggest problems I see with characters is that they lack charm in their dialogue. You can add all the aesthetic bells and whistles you want, but if nobody wants to read what your character has to say when they're a Homestuck character, you kind of have a problem on your hands that needs addressing. Dialogue is the biggest way to convey character, in my opinion, so it's a surprisingly crucial part to consider when writing a character.

For clarification, I don't just mean personality. I don't just mean fears and goals and quirks.

I mean how they speak.

1.) LINE LENGTH.
A notable thing about the Homestuck cast is that they use varying amounts of punctuation. As such, some use periods and some don't. Some use commas, and some don't. Because of this, the way they speak differs, because Hussie needed to make sure that their speech was very clearly readable, without any real hiccups.

Let's take this line, for example:
"It's crazy, see, you'd think he could tie his shoelaces, but surprise surprise. No dice."

Let's see what happens if you just pump that out with a character like Jade, who doesn't really use punctuation all that much.

JADE: its crazy see youd think he could tie his shoelaces but surprise surprise no dice

It... Works, I guess? It's not impossible to read, but it's definitely a mouthful with no stopping points for the mind whatsoever. So, instead, let's split this up into a couple of different lines since we're not using commas or periods, here.

JADE: its crazy
JADE: see
JADE: youd think he could tie his shoelaces but
JADE: surprise surprise
JADE: no dice :c


Whereas, the long single-liner might fit someone like Dirk, or Rose. Maybe even Jake, if you replace a few commas with periods.

JAKE: Its crazy see.
JAKE: Youd think he could tie his shoelaces but surprise surprise! No dice.


It's all about pacing, and punctuation. People like Jake, Rose, Dave and Dirk are known for prattling on, so you can easily justify giving them longer lines. But people like Terezi or Eridan tend to split their sentences up into segments for dramaticism.

2.) VOCABULARY.
Another way to distinguish how your character speaks is the particular word choices they use. Dirk is probably one of the most notable examples, along with Dave.

Dirk is the kind of character to use terms like "sort of" and "kind of" and "pretty much", along with what I call bro talk. You know bro talk? 'Course you do, that shit's whack as all hell but hells of fun to lay into all coollike, man.

Maybe you're a Karkat and your vocabulary's extensiveness and descriptivity rivals that of your inexplicable and unfathomable rage towards all you lay your eyes on.

Jake, Jane and Eridan lean a tad towards the ludicrous old-fangled poppycock and verbal hootenannies that leave the poor folks at home scratching their noggins.

Meulin's speech comes right out of Tumblr tags??? Like, it's SO accurate I CAN'T EVEN. SCREAMS???????

And etc. etc. etc.

3.) AN EXCUSE FOR ME TO TRY TO BE CREATIVE.
So I'm going to give you guys a quiz. A quiz of what? A quiz of how well you guys can determine specific speech styles. It's simple: guess which character I'm attempting to impersonate. However, it'll be in paragraph style, so no using quirks to cheat. You gotta work it out on your own. Ready?

Lo, and before your very eyes, Jesus H. Christ himself descended from the vast heavens above, bathing all before him in his holy light; and with his luscious, blessed lips did he duly proclaim: "get your choice ass off my lawn before I stuff a rosary square up it."
a.) Karkat
b.) Dave
c.) Jane
d.) Nepeta

Well, yeah, I have heard that statement, before. But, well, that "before" I just mentioned was just a few seconds ago. From you, just now. Before that, though, no, I've never heard of this "toilet paper" you speak of.
a.) Calliope
b.) Equius
c.) Kanaya
d.) Tavros

Oh yes, how delectable I find your excruciation. How charming I feel of your squirming, worm. It's almost pitiful, how easily your suffering could end, if only your head exited your sour, sour read end. But you can't! So suffer you shall!
a.) Caliborn
b.) Karkat
c.) Dirk
d.) Vriska

A dangerous artifact known for shredding apart the fabric of space and time? Sounds like an adventure to me! Are you guys coming to check it out?
a.) Vriska
b.) Aradia
c.) Meenah
d.) Oglogoth

For the sake of keeping this as brief as possible, I'll end things there, but hopefully I've made some kind of point, here. It's something to think about. Think about vocab, think about line lengths, and you're golden.

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