Today’s Savvy Saturday post is on the power of dialogue. Often, as authors, we think that we have to add descriptions, dialogue tags (e.g. “he drawled, rolling the words around on his tongue as he thought about each one”), and other prose far more often than we actually need to. While these can be important, dialogue can also stand on its own and speak powerfully to both characterization and plot. For example, when
- SIGNAL INCOMING
- I don’t think that it’s working, Your Highness. Princess Laeshana said that there’s supposed to be a light that goes on when the transmitter’s working. Blue I think she said – or was it purple? That’s funny, because I like purple much better than I like blue, and you’d think that I’d remember which one it was. It wasn’t silver. I’d have definitely remembered if it was supposed to be a silver light.
Okay, that’s weird. The Cadaerian transmitter isn’t supposed to hijack my blogging software… Naruahn? Is that you? I’m trying to write a blog post.
- That’s strange. I’m sure I followed the directions Laeshana gave me. She might have skipped a step or two, though, and not realized it.
Alaric! It’s me, Phillips! I can read you just fine, but I’m not getting visual. Is everything all right?
- What should we do, Your Highness? Should we ask Laeshana for help?
- No! She’d want to know why we were trying to contact Phillips without her, and I want this to be a surprise.
Hmm. I guess the transmitter is only transmitting in one direction. At least it doesn’t sound like anything’s actually wrong…Sorry, guys, I won’t be able to continue my blog post until this is over. In the silver lining category, at least I suppose I can make snarky comments without Alaric or Naruahn finding out about it.
- You could just tell her that it’s a secret.
- No, Naruahn. That would make her suspicious, which is exactly what I’m trying to avoid.
Do tell. What are you plotting?
- I could tell her that it’s a secret. She’s never suspicious of me!
- Oh, really?
- Well, not as suspicious of me as she’d be of you. I’m not her husband.
- No, you’re just the one who popped all of the furniture from our room into the courtyard last week.
Naruahn – you did what?
- I told you, I was going to put it back once I finished cleaning the room!
- And that wasn’t due to circumstances that would make anyone suspicious of your behavior at all.
*cough* I hope the flying pigs didn’t make a reappearance.
- They were supposed to sit on the beams and coo gently and make it all romantic! Not poop on the floor and shed feathers everywhere!
- That’s what birds do. One would think that a ruahk would know that.
- They were DOVES! Doves brought roses and marigolds and lilies to Rilith the Fair, and sat on her shoulder and sang songs to her of her beloved’s loyalty while he was off in the king’s army! They didn’t poop on her floor!
And this, boys and girls, is what happens when you learn about wildlife from Epic Poetry.
- We’re getting off subject. Suffice it to say, the transmitter isn’t working, so we’re going to have to figure out what to do for Laeshana’s birthday without anyone else’s help.
Is THAT what this is all about? No problem. Take her out for a picnic dinner in a part of Cadaeren she hasn’t visited yet, preferably where Something Important Historically happened, give her a new book, and let her tell you about her research. It’ll make her day.
- OH! I know!
- What, Naruahn?
Indeed. We’re all ears.
- You could teach her how to fly!
Actually, that’s a pretty awesome idea.
- How to fly? I didn’t know ruahks could fly.
- I’ll teach you! It’s easy! Watch!
- Naruahn – stop! Watch out for the – are you all right?
- No problem, Your Highness, I’m fine.
- Not so sure the ceiling is. Are you sure you didn’t smash a hole through the bricks?
- Come up and look for yourself! You see? It’s easy! Just take my hand and focus on moving the air around you. It’s fun!
- As long as you don’t ram yourself into walls.
- That’s it, Your Highness! See? You’re doing it!
LUCKY. And so not fair.
- This is so odd. I feel like a paper hovercraft.
- A what?
- I’ll show you later.
- Okay, now that you’re in the air, point yourself at something and direct the wind around you. See? It’s easy! Just like this!
- Naruahn! Not near the transm…
- SIGNAL LOST
I guess we can figure out what happened there. Ouch. I hope Naruahn’s all right. With Alaric nearby, though, I’m sure he’ll be fine. Unfortunately, I’m not so sure about the transmitter. Maybe they’ll have to tell Laeshana about their plans in the end after all. Ah well. It’s the thought that counts, right?
Now, back to the blog post. The importance of dialogue. Hmm. I think Alaric and Naruahn have pretty much made my points for me. I’ll have to tell them thank you when Laeshana gets the transmitter working again. Assuming, of course, that it’s after her birthday.
Speaking of which, what should I tell Alaric if he actually does get the transmitter working? How do you think he should surprise Laeshana for her special day? Leave a comment and let me know!
*Note: If you want to know more about Alaric, Laeshana, and Naruahn, you can read about their adventures in my novel, The Quest of the Unaligned.