If narrative elements were a family, plot would be the father who leads the rest of the family in his own familiar treading, setting would be the wife to add a dose of reality to anything plot does and dialogue and character would be the siblings, being the centre of Plot and Setting’s life, running around in the house and causing a racket.
Yes dialogue and character are hand in hand together as without character, dialogue would just be random quotes from non-existence and without dialogue, characters would be mute (though mute characters hand gestures would still count as someone interesting, but you get what I’m saying)
More pertinently, I have a fun little exercise for building your characters through dialogue.
– A character that is getting stagnant, or still budding in R&D. If you don’t have a character because you’re into poetry or something like that use Jack Sparrow. I’m sure Disney won’t mind.
– A developed motivation and attributes, or at least familiarity with how said character would react if they were on a deserted island.
Take that character and right three or four dialogue lines that are the essence of that character. It can be any situation, maybe he’s wearing half a chicken suit and the other half is smeared in jam and he’s hanging off the end of a construction crane. Just let any situation that comes from your character dancing in your head and write it down.
Here’s an example I did for my character Sir Cecil Hawthorne
“Well the efficient and the shallow man would wont to offer you a quick bite at the cantina which a easy walk over. The substandardity of the fare would wrinkle the noses of the more refined. Now such men they would turn up and look away, doffing their top hats, and silk black coats, for a Sunday sort of jaunt to the Brisket n Boar’s for ripe meat and charred tomato’s on the side.”
“Keep Calm & Carry on. Yes that’s the kind of tip-top kind of attitude that keeps the empire coursing. Holds the upper lip stiff and back rigid, and that we get all tiddly saluting God Save the Queen.”
By Joshua P’ng, A North York Writer