Hello! How would you write a dialogue in which a character is freaking out about something? I generally have them word vomit but I don't really like that style. If its too much could you show me an example as well?
You could definitely word vomit – especially if your character is hysterical – but that’s not the only way to do it by any means. I know a few other ways.
This is strange, considering your character is freaking out, but the freak-out is internal – they’re shutting themselves off due to shock. In this case, they would be quiet, sane, and even if what they’re saying is illogical, it would probably sound reasonable.
“I was right there when she shot him. He dropped like a sack of flour. I figured he was gone as soon as the bullet hit his chest. So now I’ve decided I’m gonna go after her. Right now. And I’m gonna kill her.”
“What? You can’t do that!”
“Sure I can. She killed him, so I kill her. It’s called justice.”
“But- With just your bare hands?”
“The way I feel right now, my bare hands are more than enough.”
Notice how the character who just watched their friend die in front of them isn’t yelling, isn’t stuttering, isn’t getting angry or crying – they’re perfectly calm, almost to the point of complete emotional shutdown.
Some people get angry when they lose control and freak out – it scares them, and the fear manifests itself as anger. This type particularly happens when they’re upset about something and other characters aren’t taking it seriously or are shrugging off their concerns.
“No! It’s happening tonight! We don’t have time to think, or weigh things, we need to fucking leave! Now!”
“We can’t. You know that, and you’d remember that, if you were thinking straight-”
“I am thinking straight! It’s you who’s fucked in the head. I don’t give a damn what you think we can and can’t do, we need to clear out of here, right this second.”
As you can see, this character is freaking out – their concerns may or may not have a firm foundation, but obviously they are concerned, and that concern is manifesting itself as fury.
3. By stuttering.
For some people, it’s hard to talk when they panic, because their minds race forward ahead of their mouths and they get tongue-tied. I typically see/use this with more anxious characters, or with characters who aren’t typically good at speaking anyways (in other words, who are uncomfortable talking).
There are a couple of different ways to stutter:
a. Repeat the beginning of each word.
“I tr-tried to s-save him, but he wuh-wouldn’t l-let me … he knew it was g-going to happen. It’s my f-fault!”
(However, keep in mind that this kind of stuttering is more as if your character is crying and trying to talk through sobs and hiccups. Please use it sparingly – it can get old fast.)
b. Repeat words.
“No. No, I don’t know what’s going on, Ricky. Ricky, why would I have any idea? Don’t fucking look at me like that, Ricky. Don’t look at me like I’m lying.”
c. Insert filler sounds: “ah”, “uh”, “um”, and/or curse words.
“I, uh, I- fuck. I, ummm, I think maybe, ah, maybe we should leave?”
For more on stuttering – it can be hard to peg correctly – check out this post.
I hope this helps! If you need anything else, please feel free to ask. - @authors-haven