MY MOM ALWAYS TOLD ME TO FIND A GOOD HOOK IN YOUR STORY TO ENGAGE YOUR READERS. WHAT BETTER HOOK THAN GREAT DIALOGUE.
SOME AUTHORS SWEAR BY DESCRIPTIVE NARRATIVE OTHERS LET THE CHARACTERS TELL THE STORY BY WHAT THEY SAY.
I, FOR ONE, LOVE GREAT DIALOGUE AND I KNOW A FEW WRITERS WHO AGREE THAT DIALOGUE TELLS THE STORY. SURE YOU NEED SOME NARRATIVE TO DESCRIBE WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE STORY BUT READERS REALLY RELATE TO WHAT THE CHARACTERS ARE SAYING. IT MAKES THEM REAL.
HERE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITES FROM MY BOOKS AND THOSE OF A FELLOW AUTHOR DELLANI OAKES. MY OPINION IS “DELLANI IS THE QUEEN OF DIALOGUE!”
DEAD ON ARRIVAL
“Okay Gerry,” I said, “cut the crap! How did you get Velcro’s’ body in here?”
“What do ya mean how? You mean you think I did this, thanks a lot!” he said, somewhat pissed.
“This wasn’t your handy-work?”
“No! Why would you think I would do such a horrid thing?”
“Not sure really; maybe because you and Ray have the only keys besides me, and you love practical jokes.”
FROM LONE WOLF TALES
We’ve lost the summit, sir. They’re all gone.”
“The locals have some kind of—thing. It took them all out. I got hit. It knocked me back, it’s the only reason I survived.”
“All of them, sir.”
“They took out thirty men?”
“One blast and they were gone. Poof!”
“People don’t go poof, Private.
OVER HER DEAD BODY
”Sanford!” She yelled with her hands on her hips. “We have to go! I have to be in New York in the morning. We need to catch the Red-eye!”
Sandy sighed and looked at me to bail him out somehow. “She is trying out for the Rockettes,” he whispered to me, just out of Blondie’s earshot, “but between you and me, Leena is a bit long in the tooth for all that. She’s closing in on 40.” Sandy looked at Leena –and then back at me. “Alas, my wife and boss have spoken. The glitzy Mrs. Brown was preening at her compact mirror. “You don’t have to yell Leena,” Sanford addressed her; “I have my hearing aid in.”
Leena looked at me with derision again. “Who’s the floozy?” she sneered.
I was seeing red and Sandy’s face was turning a similar color.
“Floozy?” I spluttered. I wanted to scratch her eyes out, but I refused to succumb to the base temptation to beat the broad senseless. Sensing an impending catfight Gerry rushed to my side.
Sandy looked at his wife sternly. “Leena that was tasteless and crass,” he admonished her, “you will apologize to Laura. How dare you defame this funeral of my dear friend Ethel by insulting this lovely girl?”
“Girl my ass,” Leena snarled, “she’s gotta be at least 35.”
If Gerry hadn’t held me back I would have bitch-slapped her into next week. Okay so I was almost 35, but that wasn’t the point.
Sandy was livid. “I apologize for my wife’s bad behavior. I had better take her out of here.”
He handed me one of his cards and said he would be back in a few days most likely without his spouse.
THE NINJA TATTOO
“Boys,” Vivica said sternly. “Stop it. If we have to be around one another all night, you’re going to have to get along. I refuse to be cast in the role of mother.”
“If you are, can I be the daddy?” Jed flashed a lopsided grin at her, hopping up from the table when Teague took a swing at him.
“One daddy’s enough,” Vivica gave Teague a lingering kiss, picked up her dishes and strutted into the kitchen.
“Holy, Mother of God,” Jed breathed when she was gone. “Teague, I love you like a brother, but I wish I’d seen her first!”
SO WHAT DO YOU LIKE BETTER NARRATIVE OR DIALOGUE?