A to Z Challenge 2013

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


A while back Elana had a post about dialogue, and it got me to thinking about my own abilities (or lack thereof) to use only dialogue to describe a scene. I have crafted the following scene with that in mind, trying to keep my descriptive sentences to a minimum.

"The necessity of vision in today's world demands you concede, my dear." His voice moved around, disorienting Kathryn.

"I'm still a human being, regardless of the law. You can play your damn games all day long, but you can't ignore that."

"Ahh, but indeed I can ignore that. You seem to forget where you are. You are nothing but a reminder of the frailty of humanity. The general populace doesn't need nor want you left alive. They have enough troubles to worry..."

"People hide their real thoughts because of you, because of your kind." She could hear his irritation rising, so she plunged on, "No matter how you paint it Garing, it's still prison. Just because they ignore the bars doesn't mean they don't see them."

He teased her right ear with a flick of his tongue, "I will enjoy watching my brethren consume you. You do realize we take our time with such things."

"You haven't managed enough stability here for such an outrage, and everyone knows I've been taken. If I don't reappear soon, your fragile control will shatter and you know it." The power in her voice did not mirror her frantically beating heart.

She could hear his grin, "Are you so sure that humanity is destined to be anything other than a slave race? This world was once owned by reptiles. It's only fate that the true rulers should return. Enjoy the silence of this room, Kathryn. Rest your voice. We enjoy the screams of our meals almost as much as the taste." The whispering sounds of his feet echoed in her mind long after the door hissed shut.

What are your thoughts about this excerpt? Does the dialogue flow nicely or is it hard to follow? Do you have some good visuals of what is going on or are there more questions than answers? Would this excerpt hook you enough to keep reading? And what could I do to improve on things?


T. Anne said...

OMGoodness, I loved that! I'm ready to read the rest! I thought the dialogue was enough to let me know exactly what was taking place. Great job.

Jamie said...

Excellent dialogue (and story), but I kind of got lost at the 4th paragraph. If she can "hear irritation rising", then he must still be speaking (unless she heard something else that implied irritation?), but then "she plunged on". A bit confusing for me.

But sounds like a great story - very dynamic and interesting.

ElanaJ said...

This is fantastic! I love the line about his tongue teasing her ear. That was a nice visual. I think. I'm not sure if it was supposed to be nice, but it was. ;-)

adrcremer said...

(Shivers) great dialogue, Eric. I'm with Elana loved the tongue line, I also agree with Jamie about the order in which "irritation rising" appeared, I didn't understand why it appeared in the middle of her dialogue and after the reptile-villain had finished speaking.

Can't wait to see more!

B.J. Anderson said...

I think it was fantastic! Way to go on using dialogue to move the story along.

Cindy said...

I thought the dialogue was great. You definitely relayed enough of the character through the words. Good job!

Theresa said...

Nice writing style. Thanks for sharing that.

Anita said...

It was interesting...a msiing comma when she says his name.

I'm picturing a blond Angelina Jolie chained to a cinderblock wall.

The whispering sounds of his footsteps sort of threw me.

Abby said...

Very nice! Great job conveying the mood. Especially in the last paragraph. I liked "the whispering sound of his footsteps". Good sensory detail. It really pulls you into the scene.

Eric said...

Thank you everyone. I completely agree with the whole "irritation rising" comments, especially reading it back now. I have to rework that a bit. But this exercise was very useful for me, particularly since I have struggled with dialogue. Now I have a good starting example of effective dialogue.

Robyn said...

I love this, Eric. The dialogue shows me the character and moves everything along at exactly the way it should go. Especially love, He teased her right ear with a flick of his tongue. Oh my, great sentence. :)

Johanna said...

Hi Eric, just happened upon your blog and am enjoying it immensely!

In terms of your dialogue, I thought it was a totally useful exercise that we could all use. Afterall, even if your prose is poetic, if your dialogue is corny or confusing or broken with too much description, it can ruin everything (as can a run on sentence like the one I just wrote!)

Anyway, my two cents is that I was confused until the fourth paragraph when the whole picture became clear but I don't think that is unusual given that there was no history included. Great job and yes, like everyone else, the tongue line is genius...a great way to end an excerpt since it is what we remember!

Rebecca Woodhead said...


I'd like to leave it there but I know you'd have no respect for me if I did so here's a few comments:

I was actually a bit confused at the start. The very first bit didn't work for me coming in cold - although it might work better in context. It flowed better later on I thought. By the end I was intrigued to find out what was going to happen and how crunchy it would be!

The dialogue towards the end clicks into character well and is well handled. Last paragraph is gold!