I’m trying to work on believable conversation. I’m just going to “roll” with it, but let me give you the “dechromed” version of the scene.
John likes to tinker with things. He’s an engineer and has decided to work on something. His wife, Mary, tries to be supportive of his ideas, but they sometimes tend toward the near ridiculous. John wants her approval, but isn’t sure if he’ll get it.
After I write it I’m going to “strike out” (
like this) things that I edit out.
Let’s see what happens.
John looked up as the front door opened and his wife walked in.
“Hi sweetheart! How was your day?”, he smiled up at her.
“Just another day, you know how it goes,” she responded, taking off her coat and hanging it on a hook by the front door. Mary looked around, noting that John was busy with a pencil and paper, pressing down on the coffee table for support. John always seemed to want to draw out his ideas and present them to Mary as a if he were a child presenting a picture from school.
“What are you working on, there?” she asked.
John looked up at her almost hesitantly.
The idea he was working on was not anything earth shaking, but he wanted to invest time and energy into trying to make it a reality. It was a simple enough idea, in his mind, but not one that everyone would find important or desirable.
“Why don’t you come over and sit down with me and I’ll show you?” he asked.
Mary smiled. She stepped over to sit beside John on the couch. She leaned into him as he sat up, paper in one hand, the other arm moving around her shoulders.
“I think I have a way to make soldiers safer, if I can get it to work,” John said, showing her the picture.
The picture was a fairly simple drawing, with small notations to different parts. It appeared to be some kind of medieval armor or something.
“You mean like from one of those computer games?” she asked, knowing John’s love for such things.
John smiled,”Well, yes, sort of. The games just assume such an armor would be perfected and all that, and we’re years away from the complicated electronics and advanced power cells and such that you see on those games. This idea is more basic,” John took a deep breath,”the biggest reason people don’t wear a suit of armor into battle today is the fact that it’s so heavy they can barely move. I want to use some hydraulics and low power switches to make it so that the person wearing the armor wouldn’t be so exhausted just by moving around.”
John waited for Mary to respond. He knew that this wasn’t something she was interested in, but he wanted her
to approve approval.
Mary smiled indulgently,”Well, sweetie, it sounds like a noble concept, but complicated. I think it would be a good thing if you can make it work.”
She gave him a peck on the cheek, and stood up. “I’m going to go take a shower and get into comfy clothes.”
“Okay, sweetie. Do you want some dinner?” he asked.
I based this conversation on the sorts of real life interactions I have with my wife, but I’m just not sure about it. The words in blue for example, I’m not sure what to do there. I feel like it should work, but those words… don’t taste right.
The use of commas and such in conversation throws me as well. Getting the punctuation right is sort of important, and I want to do it right. Getting it right is no problem, as a quick google search will give me what I need, but commas, to me, indicate a breath or hesitation.
Take that last sentence there. “Getting it right is no problem,breath as a quick google search will give me what I need,new idea but commas,explanatory pause to me,return to idea indicate a breath or hesitation.”
The blue letters are explanations of the commas. I don’t think that everyone who read this would trip over the commas, but I would notice whether someone else had used too many or too few.
Then of course, there’s the basic interaction. When I write a conversation, my mind says that it’s coming out as halting and unrealistic. When I read it again, I don’t know. The more I think about it, the more I think that conversation will be something I just sort of have to “bull” through until I have a larger section to consider.
What do you think?