By Lynn Hobbs
Conversations written with emotion are excellent page turners. When the reader is offered an in-depth look into two characters particular situation, I recommend having both characters point of view to consider, instead of skimming over the conflict as in many cookie-cutter novels.
Dialogue can hold your attention as you learn both sides of the issue.
John squinted as sweat beaded across his forehead. Jerking the letter from the mailbox, his eyes focused on the county logo displayed as the return address.
I just got off work. Why are they mailing me something?
He ripped the letter open and glanced at the pink form.
Downsizing? The word echoed in his mind. Adrenalin raced, and John drew his fist back violently hitting the metal mailbox.
Louis watched his neighbor hit the mailbox and shook his head.
What a hot-head…
He strolled toward the row of shrubbery separating their property.
“Hey buddy, you okay?”
“Yeah. Lost my job… lousy way to find out, though. Read about it in a letter.” John balled the letter up and pitched it back inside the mailbox.
“Well, you county road and bridge employees have had it made for a long time.” Louis huffed and placed his hands on his hips.
“What? How can you say that?”
“It takes three men each carrying a shovel to walk behind a truck and fill a pot-hole. Seen it too many times.” Louis emitted a loud belly laugh.
John cringed and stared wide-eyed at Louis.
“Am I hearing you right?” John gasped and marched to the shrubbery. “We do more than fill pot-holes in all types of weather, and you work sitting at a desk in comfort. I am appalled at your opinion, and shocked by your attitude.”
“Attitude? What attitude? I just can’t believe my taxpaying money is wasted on men lolly-gagging around on the job. I’m glad the county is cutting back on employees.”
“Louis, I wouldn’t be so quick to judge. You don’t understand.”
“Oh, I understand alright. I have eyes.” Louis sauntered back to his house.
John stood with his mouth open. Speechless, he glared as anger gnawed at his insides.
Who would have thought Louis felt so strongly against county workers? And I thought I knew him well. What else does he feel strongly about? I haven’t a clue. John left the row of shrubbery and silently returned to his own home.
That is one example of two points of view on an issue in dialogue. The extremely different opinion by one character makes it a more interesting read, especially when the other character is not expecting it. Stating that Johns’ neighbor Louis was glad John no longer worked for the county road and bridge department would not keep the readers attention.
It goes back to the old rule of show, don’t tell.
Another idea is to have a character tune out what the second character is saying while the first one is deciding what to say or how to explain something.
Whatever you do with dialogue, make it believable.
Lynn Hobbs is the author of the Running Forward Series; a powerful faith and family saga from Desert Coyote Productions.
Book #1: Sin, Secrets, and Salvation, awarded 1st place, Religious Fiction, 2013, Texas Association of Authors.
Book #2: River Town, 1st place, Religious Fiction, 2014, TAA.
Book #3: Hidden Creek, 1st place, Religious Fiction 2015, TAA.
You can find Lynn on her website at http://www.LynnHobbsAuthor.com and Facebook