Monday, June 3, 2013

The Awkward Conversation

Awkward conversations are a part of life--and writing. Many TV shows and books are littered with them. They can be helpful for humorous occasions or just to make your readers cringe with sympathy when the characters begin to ramble.

What are the different stages of an awkward conversation?

Well, usually it begins with:

The Awkward Silence

This is when both characters involved in the conversation (usually the MC and someone else) realizes that they have no idea how to talk to each other. They usually start to fidget, look around the room, or check their watch. This usually leads to:

The Rambling

Most of the time, the MC is the one doing the rambling. They're the one trying to fill the gap by talking about whatever comes to mind: their families, a TV show they watched recently, or some other topic. Normally this ends with something funny they heard that day, which doesn't turn out to be that funny the second time around. The other character will give a fake, feeble laugh, and then the silence falls again.

Attempted Small Talk

After the rambling ends, the MC sometimes tries to thaw the ice by talking about something neutral and meaningless, like the food they're eating, the clothes the other person is wearing, or the weather that day. This doesn't usually end well, but the MC was brave enough to try, and for that we must applaud them . . . halfheartedly. (Really, you couldn't think of anything else)?

"I gotta go . . . this has been fun!"

This is when the other character pretends to receive an urgent phone call or text to get out of the conversation. Sometimes they suddenly remember a dentist or doctor appointment. Either way, this is when the MC realizes that this meeting has not gone well.

Some TV shows that are brilliant at this are Gilmore Girls, especially the conversations between Rory and Dean, and Friends.

Have your characters ever been in an awkward situation? If so, how did they handle themselves?



Boquinha said...

Hilarious! I read this via email, so I didn't even see the video; therefore, I was coming to see if this post was inspired by that episode. Well, when I opened the post on my browser, I saw the embedded video, so my guess is that it was! LOL!

"Was I talking about GAS?!?"

"More so than anything else."

GREAT post. My MC in my first novel is a total nervous talker. Those are fun, if uncomfortable, scenes to write.

Karoline Kingley said...

I LOVE Gilmore Girls! They seem to be experts in averting/brushing off awkward conversations.

The Magic Violinist said...

Ha ha! XD I was actually thinking about doing this yesterday, but it was too late and I didn't think about it again until today. ;)

I do, too! :D My mom and I are watching four episodes every Saturday night. But, ohhhhh, Rory. She is PAINFULLY awkward.

Dr. Mark said...

So perfectly described! I've had these conversations in real life, too. Unfortunately I've been the MC a lot of the time.

Great video! LOVE that scene!

The Magic Violinist said...

Same here! I'm a nervous talker. I don't like long silences.

Dave Johnson said...

"Gas? Wow!...intense...You know that smell gas has?"

This is a winner no matter the situation.

The Magic Violinist said...

@Dave Johnson I should try using that on Rich and Brennan when you guys come here. ;)