Emily asked: I've been writing and rewriting this one scene for a week now, and finally decided I need help. So, my question is: How do I write a realistic heated argument between two characters?
There are a lot of factors that could change the course of the argument, such as who is fighting and what their relationship is. As I don’t have those details, I’m just going to go ahead and give you the few points the pretty much apply to ever argument:
People don’t make sense
Often times when people argue, they get so worked up about the argument that they’re too excited to actually think rationally. Or, if your character is super rational, they’re probably thinking too rationally. Either way, their words probably won’t make too much sense. I mean, they shouldn’t be speaking nonsense, but they will make nonvalid points as if they are making very valid ones.
People hold grudges
Have you ever started arguing with someone about one thing and then next thing you know you’re arguing about something else entirely? You might be arguing about whose responsibility it was to get the mail this morning and next thing you know you’re fighting about whether or not it was your fault the cover got torn on a book you borrowed from the other person. Especially if there are girls involved, the argument is never about one thing. Never. It’s always about a lot more. Because as humans, we tend to bottle stuff up and when the cork flies out of the bottle, everything comes with it. More than likely whatever caused the argument is really just the straw that broke the camel’s back. There were other things that led up to this argument and whatever caused it was just the final thing whoever was involved is going to take.
Only in fiction does someone ever win
This one really bothers me. According to books and movies, most fights between good characters end with some sort of resolution. Eventually, one of the characters realizes mid-argument that they were wrong or the other person is right and next thing you know they’re apologizing and the argument is ending.
In real life, arguments end when someone interrupts or one or both parties storms off. After they have had time to cool down and remove themselves from the situation, they can then realize that, hey maybe they were wrong. Maybe the other person was right. But, never during a fight. Never. Because remember, they aren’t thinking rationally. They’re trying to win. Which leads to the next point:
People are more concerned with winning than anything else
Remember, the parties involved aren’t thinking rationally. This is why lawyers always get the witness mad (at least in the movies they do. If you have ever seen any sort of movie or TV show set in a courtroom, you know what I’m talking about). Because to the person who’s getting upset (the witness) it’s about winning. We will say or do whatever it takes to win the argument. Even if it means confessing to something we totally meant to keep a secret.
Or, no matter how valid a point one person makes, the other isn’t going to accept it. Or, even if they do, they’re probably going to push it away and look for the problems with that point. Because they want to win. They don’t care as much about what is actually right.
And, not a breakdown of arguments, but a writing tip- body language is a great tool here that not enough people take advantage of. If you show how worked up the characters are in the midst of their words, it creates an atmosphere that the readers can physically feel. If the characters are just sitting there, not moving, while they argue, it won’t feel as authentic. But, if one of them starts pacing, or if someone is clenching and unclenching their fists the whole time, it will add an extra layer to the scene.
If you’re looking for a good resource to help with emotions and body language, this book is great. It breaks down the different emotions and common ways it is shown. Again, helps add an extra layer of depth to your scenes.
Harpley asked: Do you have any advice for someone who might want to start their own blog, or things you wish you’d known earlier in your blogging journey?
First of all, make sure you know what your purpose for the blog is. If it’s a blog you’re just doing for you, it doesn’t matter, but if you want to reach people with it, don’t just make a blog about “stuff” and then post whatever you happen to feel like posting at the moment. Decide what you want to dedicate your blog to and then stick with it. If you don’t 100%, that’s fine, but at least for you have some idea to work with.
For instance, Within the Ivory Palace is dedicated to writing, with some reading stuff thrown in. So, I either post news about my writing, posts about writing advice, short stories or excerpts, or book reviews. Then, on Fridays, I’ll post other stuff, if people ask (and, I’m totally cool with them asking!) But, otherwise I try not to post too much about other stuff that isn’t related to my theme.
Second, make a schedule. Something I have noticed is that my page views peak on Fridays and Mondays. Why? Because that’s when I post. Even on weeks that I skip for some reason, people seem to check back to see if I have posted.
You don’t have to post twice a week. You don’t even have to post once a week. I would suggest no less than once every two weeks but otherwise, you can make it as flexible as you want.
And, lastly, write with confidence. This is your blog. You are writing about what you are passionate about. Take hold of that. Something that is often repeated in my house is “Confidence perceived is confidence achieved.” No one wants to read a blog by someone who is constantly saying, “I’m not really sure about this but…” Even if you never actually say those words, if you feel them, your readers will sense it in your writing. So, write boldly. Write with authority. This is your blog, your thoughts, your take in things, And, if someone disagrees with you, well, that’s their right.
And, that’s that! If you have a question for next week, be sure to send it in! In the meantime, I shall see you all on Monday!!