I’m constantly thinking about characters. I sometimes hear critics say about other authors that a certain literary figure wasn’t realistic, that real people are not like that at all, but what do they know? I have met people you wouldn’t believe existed.
Describing behaviour is tricky because reality can be more than a little bizarre. Behaviour is frequently very logical and illogical at the same time. It’s cultural. You can have a direct or indirect style of communication. I tend to communicate a bit like a Vulcan, such as Spock in the original Star Trek. I focus on being rational and unemotional. The point is the information I want to relay, which is common in the culture I grew up in. I have noticed that some people are direct and passionate. I sometimes misunderstand these people. It’s actually positive to be passionate about something, and I have to remind myself that I shouldn’t keep it against them. I tend to see them as emotional and irrational. There are also cultures that are indirect. They may have very strong emotions, but if you don’t know what to look for, you could miss what in reality could very well have been a hostile confrontation.
Imagine cultures that are passionate without any focus on rationality. The vikings had an interesting tradition. They developed what turned into our modern parliament. You could get permission to seek revenge, so if someone from your family had been killed, you could legally kill the murderer. The ideal was patience, though. You were not encouraged to seek immediate revenge. That may seem barbaric, but it ensured justice and closure. There weren’t feuds between families that lasted for generations, and where no one knew what they kept fighting for, whis is probably what we’d have without this legal revenge.
There is no deception involved in these communication styles. People are just different, but these styles could be used deliberately. There’s a pundit I often like because of her focus on truth in media and in the public debate, especially concerning the coverage from from Northern Africa and Western Asia. I don’t agree with everything, though. She shared a video on Facebook a few days where the Israeli PM was speaking from his office. It was basically a lot of whataboutism. The Palestinians were described as terrorists that were willing to kill innocent children. The problem is that it’s impossible to decide who is right in this conflict. It’s more about who is less wrong and less perverted, but innocence never enters the picture at all. It’s the same people. They are brothers that have been at each other’s throat since Abraham (that’s how the Bible attempt to explain it), and we know how brothers can fight. That’s a very classic conflict and perhaps this is also a classic communication style?
There is a reason I have expressed a distaste for politicians in general, because many of them are like that. Democracy and human rights are just two of their many favourite concepts. The message is usually that we need to criticise, and even act against other governments because we defend democracy, the right values. In short, we speak for the Earth. We represent humanity. It’s a shame simpletons and their voters run the so-called free world. Communication in politics seems use a combination. The speaker gives the impression of rationality, while the others are very capricious. They are likely to do anything, so they can’t be trusted. We need to act against them because it is our duty, our calling from God (as W suggested). This is the language of war. It’s basically saying that “you either do what I tell you to, and in the way I tell you to, or there will be war” (trade or military conflict). Politics at the moment is communication styles on a grand scale.
I haven’t thought about this concerning my own book, because I focus on moving forward with the plot. When I start editing I might think about how different communication styles could add drama or complications. That would be realistic if you have characters from different cultures.