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I Always Prided Myself on Dialogue Until Today

Today I read a post which was an entire chapter of mostly dialogue.  I realized suddenly that I couldn’t follow it because there was not enough description to let me know where the characters were, and what they were talking about.

Here is a current, unedited clip from early into the first chapter of my new book, now completed drafted up to Chapter 5.  Trixie and Nick have JUST met in a hotel lobby.  So which picture pictures best show where they are, and what they look like?  These are stock photos from the internet.  One of them somewhat captures the feeling I am seeking.

“Of course, sit down.  I’m waiting for a friend, but I’d love the company.”  He didn’t look like he worked out regularly, but he still had the careless jock look.  Intimidated by extremely good-looking men, Trixie mused to herself, “I think he likes to eat as much as I do.”

“You must not be teaching today,” she guessed flashing him a teasing grin.

“No,” he smiled again.  “I’m off after my requisite cup of coffee.  I have a date with my daughters this afternoon for a couple of hours . I don’t get to see them very often.  Then I’ll be back later to catch a few sessions before the end of the conference.  My name’s Nick Boyd, by the way.”  His tanned hand felt comfortable as she took it.

“Trixie Carlton,” she smiled.  “You’re not a victim of the breakfast pastries here?” she pointed to her own half-eaten cranberry-orange scone.

“I do if it’s chocolate, but, yes, my eating habits are pretty boring.  I’m trying to lose this gut.  That means I eat chicken, chicken, and more chicken, protein shakes, vegetables, and more chicken.”

“I suppose you run marathons, for the blind, too?”  Her thin, frosted strawberry-blond hair picked that moment to flip into her eye when someone entered the hotel lobby and a bit of Monterey gusted into the coffee shop tossing her hair in several directions before it finally settled into her eyes.

“If they were as pretty as you are right now, and I know you can’t see, I’d be running double marathons every week, but no, I have a bad knee.”  He leaned toward her slightly as he sat down opposite her, “And what about you, what do you enjoy doing when you’re not attending conferences or with patients?”

What do you think?  Too much dialogue?  Is there enough description, or do you get a glimpse of who these two people are?  Which picture is your choice for the couple?

26 replies »

  1. For me, none of the couples fit this dialogue. They all look like they know each other too well. The first and third look like they’re married. The second, like co-workers. I’m thinking you need a couple who don’t look like they’re already matched with each other and who are flirting with the camera.

    I don’t have any trouble following the dialogue.

    Hope that helps!

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    • Wow, that helped a lot! Yes, you are entirely right. Who would be looking at a camera anyway if they are just meeting. They are immersed in each other, and the world is totally out of focus. 🙂

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  2. I like it, but don’t think any of those couples fit. After reading your dialogue and descriptions, I can see them clearly in my mind’s eye, and that’s as it should be. Good bit of writing, Marsha. Keep it up. 🙂

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    • So, the dialogue still lets you get a picture of them. I had hoped it did, but when I realized how much dialogue was there, and right off the bat, I was a little concerned after I read a chapter from someone else’s blog of dialogue. 🙂 You made my day. None of them are in my mind’s eye either. 🙂

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  3. Dialogue is fine. I think you get a very good picture of the people. I’m sorry to say I don’t see them in any of the three images. The first one looks like they are work colleagues. The second don’t look as though they are that interested in each other and more interested in a third party that is not in the frame. Also he is not tanned and doesn’t look like he has a gut. The third couple, although the most appealing of the photos, look like they are an old married couple and very comfortable in each others company. None of the couples are sitting opposite each other and I don’t know if any of them have ‘thin frosted strawberry-blonde hair.”
    Probably more than you want. Look forward to reading more.

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    • hahaha I love it. You are totally right, of course. None of them has totally the look. One of the hardest things for me to do so far is to keep my characters straight. I can use my friend’s personalities, somewhat, but they can’t totally be my friends, so when I write I try to think of someone they MIGHT look like, but don’t. Then I am drawing in additional character qualities as well. Writing is so much fun, and fiction writing is sooooo different than non-fiction, which is what I do most. Thanks for the feedback! 🙂

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  4. I’m thinking the woman in the 1st photo & the man in the 2nd. But – would like if it’s the last couple 😉
    I guess it depends on where the story is going.

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Marsha

Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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