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Drunk characters

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I am writing a portion of a story where a character is drunk and I want to show that in his speech. Since I do not personally drink and I tend to avoid places where people do, I don't have a great deal of experience with how they sound. All of my real experience with drunk people was in Korea, and I unfortunately I'm writing in English...

Do you have any tips on how to make drunk dialogue sound realistic?

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Slur your words. Like you were doped up at the dentists office. I worked 3rd shift at a party store for 6 years. I seen many drunk college kids.

Could you give me a sample of how that would look?

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Here is your sig.

"art is the eliminaftion of the unnecess-ryap"ablo picasso

"wre'e asll going to edi, abll of us, whabt a circus! tshat allone should make ucs lxove meach other bwut it doesn't. we are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothcing." -charles busowkki

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Well, there's the slurring, which is just really a lazy, lazy mouth "I'm" becomes "ahma", etc, but along with that, action during the conversation needs to reflect what's going on, right? So in my experience, drunk people tend to

- forget what they're talking about, sometimes mid sentence

- change the subject frequently

- get overly emotional, tipping to the ridiculously sentimental about friendships "you're my best friend - i loove youuu..." to flying off the handle for the silliest reasons - like thinking someone stole their drink when they just can't find it, or, in the middle of a conversation accuse you of TALKING

- knock into things, slop their drink around, knock things over and just generally get really uncoordinated

- lean into you when they're talking to you, lean ON you a lot.

I dug around YouTube a bit, and while this is a bit dated I've seen my friend Jimmy get like this a few times...

- that's a funny clip and Foster Brooks nails "drunk" pretty darn well.

Anyway a YouTube search on "drunk in a bar" brought up a few hits.

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It might also be helpful to consider the ancient Latin phrase, In vino veritas, "In wine, there is truth."

The meaning of the phrase being that wine can remove inhibitions permitting the drunk person to state a truth, about a situation.

This can be very useful in writing, as the drunk may not realise that he could be betraying a trust, or making an idiot of himself in revealing a secret, or merely stating the obvious which no else dare says.

The drunken person can at times also become dyslexic and get words or parts of words all mixed up. This can be very humorous, and in some settings, devastating, where the drunk says the wrong thing, in the wrong way, at the wrong time.

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An actor/friend of mine once told me the cheat they often use in class is that the drunk person is trying not to "seem" drunk, which is harder to communicate. Great actors pull that off, and I think you could do the same thing in fiction by having the character insist that they're fine and only had a couple of drinks.

I've seen cases where people's speech is slurry but their actions and movements are fine, and also the opposite. So there's more than just speech involved.

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Cynus, I'd urge you to consider that 'less is more.' Just as with writing character speech in dialect, drunken dialogue can get tiresome fast. All you need, once you've established your character as drunk, is a hint of it now and then in dialogue lines to carry the reader on.

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One common usage in literature to exhibit drunkenness is using the word 'hic'. Having the drunkard hiccup proves his inebriation.

A surefire trait of most drunks is that they're not doing anything to give it away to anyone. They don't think they're slurring their words or using the wrong ones or doing anything a sober person doesn't. They can be quite fastidious in manner and speech, too, of course giving the game away while doing so.


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Foster Brooks is the best drunk. :doze:

As has been stated before many people are conditioned to try to appear sober when they are in fact shit-faced.

One of the effects of too much drink is that some people's "mental filter" is disabled and they'll let slip things they would never say sober.

For instance a man who knows better to answer the does this make me look fat question from his wife, might say come here an let me get a piece of that big ole ass baby.

The opportunities for comedy, and divorce, are numerous.


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