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Sunday, 23 August 2009

Revelation Through Dialogue

In real life, talking to people can be helpful and character-revealing. It is through conversation that we communicate our thoughts and feelings. In fiction it is an incredibly useful device. It breaks up the narrative and adds interest and colour to the story.

For example: 'Marjorie was a kind and charitable woman. She was always helpful to others on the days the mobile library came. Elsie, in particular, relied on her.'

This is handy to know, but dull. Try a piece of dialogue instead.

"Thank you my dear, as always. My legs have got worse recently. Right shaky they are. I couldn't manage without you." said Elsie, relieved that Marjorie was there to help her back down the steep steps of the library van.
"Any time, dear. I'll always wait here to give you a hand. I'm never in a rush, so take your time choosing your books. I look out for the van every week and dash over the road to make sure I'm available"

I prefer the dialogue option, because it shows rather than tells the reader what the character is like. As in real life, it is the best way to communicate.

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