My favorite scenes in novels and stories might be those great dialog scenes. The ones with intense verbal conflict back and forth between two or more characters.
However, for me, these are the hardest to describe , not write. I don't have a problem writing the dialog itself, the words my characters use. I do have a problem that I tend to lapse into only writing down what's being said, and throwing a speaker tag onto the end of the dialog.
But I know that really great scenes have to describe what the characters are doing, how they are feeling and reacting, bothing internally and visable to what is being said. But for some reason, I try to find the words to describe the peopl, the little gestures and body language they are using when they talk, and it isn't there. Maybe this comes from the fact that I'm not good at reading body language in real life?
Anyway, does someone have a suggestion as to how I can improve the describing of the characters during these dialog scenes?
I find that incorperating description in the speaker tags works well, unless the speaker is doing something too complex for a short sentence. For instance "yadda yadda" Thingy paused in drinking long enough to add his opinion along with a smug smile/Thingy's blue eyes flared slightly with X emotion as she spoke. Body language doesn't have to be incredibly complex. If it is it will probably throw the reader. Simple things like folding arms across the chest express anger or closing off, or you could even say something like 'she seemed to withdraw from the conversation', distilling the physical signs into the POV character's impressions, which is what people do anyway. As for feelings and thoughts expressed by the POV character, any advice I could offer here comes from a purely 1st person perspective. I'm having trouble with 3rd thought/feelings at the moment. Hope that helps. JK
Posts: 503 | Registered: Sep 2000
Watch the POV on this one...I find it terribly easy to break in the middle of long dialogue scenes. Remember that body language is almost completely unconscious for the speaker and mostly unconscious for the untrained observer.
For example "Why did you come here?" Louise asked. She seemed nervous, as if she was hiding something. Thomas paused for a moment; he didn't think she would believe the truth. "Sarah called me... She said she would be here."
compare with "Why did you come here?" Louise asked. Thomas could tell she was nervous by the tightening around her eyes and the way she stood with her arms pinned to her sides. There was a long gap as he seemed to consider his answer. "Sarah called me..." His tremulous voice gave lie to his words. "She said she would be here."