Realistic Character Introductions

While editing in the past few weeks, I’ve noticed that there has been a lot of strained, forced character introductions.  You know, when a character meets another character?  This is something that I figured would be very simple, but a lot of today’s young writers are making much more complicated than it needs to be.

Mainly I’ve noticed characters, who later turn out to be friends, introducing themselves in the school hallway with their first and last name.  I’ll use an example with two characters (Bay and Adriana) from “Crash” my second novel.  Imagine this in a school hallway.

“Hello, my name is Bayleigh Garashian.” I extended my hand.

She shook my hand.  “My name is Adriana Cruz.”

Now, it’s okay to be formal sometimes.  But I can think of only a handful of time’s when I’ve introduced myself by my full first name and last name.  Acceptable situations for characters giving an introduction of their full first and last name are just like in real life: when they’re in a formal situation. (Meeting the Queen, going in for a job interview, etc).

But meeting someone in a school hallway?  I don’t know about you all, but I’ve never formally introduced myself to someone in a school hallway.  Here is how a conversation would probably go down in a school hallway in one of my books:

“Hi, I’m Bay.”  I extended my hand.

She shook it.  “I’m Adriana.”

The point about character dialogue is that is actually a lot like real life.  So go ahead and have your characters meet and greet, but keep it casual!

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