Writing Challenge: The Mute Speaks!

English: Marcel Marceau Français : Marcel Marceau

English: Marcel Marceau Français : Marcel Marceau (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the key elements of any story is dialog, but what if one of your characters can’t (or won’t) speak? How does he or she communicate? More importantly, how do you as the Author communicate what that character is trying to say without using your Omniscient Author Power to reveal their thoughts to the Reader?

Clearly you need to convey their meaning via their actions, facial expressions and body language. (I suppose using American Sign Language is one way, but I’ve read stories where the Author attempted to describe all the gestures of sign language conversations, and I must confess it was as difficult to read as it must have been to write!)

Today’s challenge is to write a conversation between your Point of View (POV) character and another character who is mute. (I suppose you could base your character on Marcel Marceau or some other mime, but remember who had the only speaking part in Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie!) For extra credit, make the mute character non-human (like a dog or an alien. Don’t bother with cats – they won’t talk to you anyway!)

While coming up with this challenge I decided to create a character based (very!) loosely on Vigo Von Homburg Deutschendorf of Ghostbusters II fame, or at least the actor who portrayed him, who was noted for refusing to speak in interviews. He will make a wonderful addition to the cast of characters in my Bite of the Apple book!

I wonder how you get around the lack of speech? I look forward to reading you answers!


About Kurt Schweitzer

A former vampire logistics facilitator, past purveyor of Italian-style transportation, and Y2K disaster preventer, I'm currently creating websites, novels and other fictions while reinventing myself. Again.
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3 Responses to Writing Challenge: The Mute Speaks!

  1. Sean-Allen says:

    Sonds fun! I remember one character I wrote who spoke very little. It was a very fun challenge to take his dialog and compress it into as few words as possible. For example, when he wanted to take a heavy box from his friend, he held out his arms and said, “Here.” I think I’m going to try this one! If it goes well, I might actually have a mute character in one of my stories.

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