View Full Version : Character revealing conversation thing. Maybe.

September 26th, 2010, 07:27 PM
So I'm trying to use speech to do the whole "show dont tell" thing when it comes to characters. Just wondering if I have managed it here. I already know them so I think that how they speak really reflects them but I can't be sure without a second opinion.


The door closed behind her, leaving her alone with Seth.

Aldies lovely, isnt she? Seth asked from his position in the doorway.

She certainly thinks highly of you. How is it that you came to know her?

I got her son out of a nasty situation, she gave me free lodgings here whenever I please it, but of course I always pay her.

You are good at that then, saving people I mean.

He moved into the room, his shoulders easing fluidly as he went to sit in the arm chair again. The room was small so he was just a few feet from her, close enough for her to be able to see the shine in his eyes. His hair was a dark shade of blue, shed been unable to discern its colour in the dark, now though he seemed almost familiar to her.

Have you ever been to Castellan, Mr Hunter?

Ive never heard of the place.

Oh. Well that cleared that up then. Shed never left Castellan, and when shed been kidnapped shed seen no one but the other slaves and the head hunters. Its a pretty sort of place, small, cold, but pretty. She realised that she was rambling a little and fought the urge to bite her lower lip. She had never been any good with people she didnt know. Her father would call her a coward, her kinder brothers just referred to it as being shy. It wasnt like shed ever really needed anyone else though, so why learn how to talk to them?

If its south Im sure well reach it eventually. He started to stand again, his gaze going to the window. I think we may have missed the market rush, time to go? it came out as a question, and Kadie thought that he was just being polite.

Do you really want me with you Mr Hunter? Im sure I can make it on my own from here.

We are both going the same way. He shrugged, and her eyes went to the hilt of his strange blade. Just showing over his left shoulder. It was the kind of unique item that was only made for those of great skill, who needed a sword to match.

Who are you?

Youve said my name at least thr

No, I mean who are you? How can you use LiFs energies? Why do you sleep with your hand by the hilt of your sword?

His eyes widened, Miss Grace, I hardly think this is the time.

But it is isnt it? You want me to come with you, when I have nothing to offer you but my price at auction. So who are you? Its a simple question Mr Hunter.

Now he just looked insulted, and Kadie felt bad for bringing it up, but it was something that she felt had to be discussed. His eyes searched her, as his mouth hardened into a thin line. For a moment she thought he would hit her You ask very thoughtless questions.

And you anger far too easily.

Watch your tongue.

Will you leave me here if I do not?

Unfortunately for the both of us, Miss Grace, my pride will not allow it.

Then I will save your pride and refuse to come.

Now he smiled a little, You cannot walk, and you will not find another man as friendly as I in these parts.

Aldie would look after me.

And what will you pay her with? I only have free lodgings because I did Josa a service, are you willing to do the same? that smile widened, catching her off guard for a moment. She knew what he was implying, yet failed to be insulted by it as his tone seemed to add humour to their bickering.

Is that what you will have from me?

Of course not Miss Grace,

September 26th, 2010, 11:20 PM
"His hair was a dark shade of blue, she’d been unable to discern it’s colour in the dark, now though he seemed almost familiar to her."

I think this would be better if it was: "His hair was a dark shade of blue, she'd been unable to discern its colour in the dark. Although now he seemed almost familiar to her."

"It's" is grammatically is equivalent to it is. So writing "...she'd been unable to discern it is colour in the dark" makes no sense. You're referring to the hair therefore it's (it is) ITS. The last part is also awkward phrasing quickly corrected by moving a few words around.

There should be a period at the end of "Of course not Miss Grace" as well unless you were simply cutting off the rest of the phrase.

For good news: I like the catty dialogue. It reminds me of refined Elizabethan chatter. :D

September 28th, 2010, 05:45 AM
Bit of trivia: I had a laugh because I keep thinking backwards due to my schooling as a screenwriter. In screenwriting "Show, don't tell" is about reducing dialogue.

As for your actual question, I say you pulled it off. There is a good balance of dialogue and description. The narration is just enough, less would make it sound like a play, more and we would loose focus on what's important in this scene: A conversation between characters with conflicting personalities. One curious, one secretive, both proud. Their emotions and personalities are well reflected in their words.

It would be interesting to see, just as an experiment, a version of this same text or even a longer one, where you describe intentions, looks and even right out tell us the emotions. This would give us a chance to confirm that the intentions and emotions we read are those you were imagining. I did this myself with a long dialogue once, and a fellow screenwriter managed to point a phrases where we differed on interpretation. I ended up changing the line because my personal and cultural values had given it a meaning that nobody else would see.

September 29th, 2010, 04:57 PM
Just a small thing--- i think 'the shine in his eyes' is too cliche.

Show don't tell is so important and I think you achieved your purpose. There are also some definite 'hooks' that keep the reader intrigued!