Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dialogue #6

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"You were attacked."
"Attacked?" He could not mean the events of yesterday afternoon.
"Yes, attacked." He spoke out to the trees, still not facing her. "I will not have that happen again."
"You are over reacting."
"And you are limping." He walked away from her again.
She struggled to follow him without admitting she was indeed limping. Her ankle, though no longer swollen, pained her. Each step sent a sharp stab of pain up to her knee.
She could not believe that he would think to use yesterday's events as reason to act as if Tintern was under siege. "That was not an attack. Those men happened upon us. They did not seek us out to engage us."
"Aye, I recall your words. You think they recognized you and were trying to save you from the big bad Norman."
When he spoke them they dripped sarcasm, like he knew every one of them was a lie.
She blinked. "Aye. That is what happened." He had to believe that.


Stacia says:

I think some of these tags could be turned into actual dialogue, and that might feel more natural. Like the second line: "Attacked?" He could not mean the events of yesterday afternoon.

I think that might work better as "Attacked? Surely you do not mean what happened yesterday." And the last line, also, could be smoother as "Aye. That is what happened. I know it is." or something like that. I think that would show her conviction and emotion in a stronger way.

Also, this is a case where interruptions can help add immediacy. He's obviously upset, and she's trying to convince him, so if they interrupted each other a little, it would give the scene more emotional oomph. Like where she says "They did not seek us out to engage us." How about if she says, "They did not seek us out--" and he interrupts her with "Aye, I recall your words." It shows us he doesn't believe her much more clearly, that she's sure he's right.


Jaye says:

I agree with Stacia's points, and I'll add a few nitpicky things. First, "overreacting" is one word. Second, you never use either of their names. Try varying the he's and she's a bit. You could also tighten the action and description. "She struggled to follow him without admitting she was indeed limping. Her ankle, though no longer swollen, pained her. Each step sent a sharp stab of pain up to her knee." Try something like: "She struggled to keep up with his long strides. Each step brought a stab of pain, but she'd never admit he was right."
Also, this: "When he spoke them they dripped sarcasm, like he knew every one of them was a lie."

The content of his dialog implies sarcasm, i.e. "Big Bad Norman." This is what Stacia was talking about with an earlier example where you're telling and it's redundant. If you must put something there, try showing how he's feeling with a physical cue. He could swipe at a low-hanging branch or something.

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