I was on a bit of a dialogue spree a few months ago, but I decided to post this with the setting series to give you (and me) a bit of a break. As I have mentioned, I prefer dialogue to narrative. So much so, I actually skip blocks of description when I read. This is obviously not ideal, but then again neither is my wine habit. And I’m not giving that up either.
As an author I need to find the balance between narrative and description. I have written about Talking Heads and how leaving details up to chance can create confusion or ambiguity.
When I discussed layering, I worked hard to use body language and actions to help me fix my talking heads. Remember body language and internal thoughts are also considered part of dialogue. So, now I should have something like talking bodies. But, I still don’t have setting.
How To Convey Setting In Dialogue – Without Sounding Like A B & B Brochure
How do I include setting detail without inducing a coma with blocks of description? Remember, I love writing that shows. There are authors who excel at telling and who write brilliant, intoxicating descriptions. I don’t. I want stuff to happen.
Let’s take a look at some examples. Using a line like “Please pass the salt” already tells us we are at a dinner table. It could be a restaurant or a home.
Having your character say: “Grab your jacket, it’s freezing.” Tells me it is cold, without having to use the line: It was a cold and snowy day, just like the weatherman predicted.
This is a skill that you will hone. The more you make a conscious effort, the better you will get. I just sounded like a motivational gym DVD, didn’t I? But it’s true.
Consider this example:
Ok, I hope that helps to explain using setting in dialogue instead of writing it in big blocks at the beginning of the scene.
Try it using the prompt: “Why is it so dark in here?” OR “Where the hell are we?”
by Mia Botha
If you enjoyed this post, you will love:
- 7 Simple Things To Remember About Setting
- 7 Other Characters To Consider When You Write A Book
- The Role Of The Love Interest In Fiction
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