#5 “Is it a morning to be good on?”
My professor used this line from the Hobbit to talk about dialogue. Go ahead, pull your copy of the Hobbit off the shelf and read the scene where Bilbo meets Gandalf. Don’t have a copy? Well I am now judging you unfairly (you ought to grab a copy). Luckily for you Peter Jackson made a terrible movie that at least gets the feel down for the scene.
Pay attention to that Dialogue. What do you feel about Gandalf and Bilbo from this conversation alone? What kind of people are they? what do they want? what do they fear?
My professor says “There is no substitute for dialogue to show character, show relationship and make the prose feel alive.” When establishing a character there is so much we can gleam from the words they say to others, we can even gleam how they say those words just by their use.
Don’t spend five paragraphs explaining to me how a character looks and acts when it can all be done in a conversation. Don’t tell me who someone is, show me by what she says. It will bring your work far further than I’m sure you’d be willing to admit.
Remember this with: What is she really saying?