Tony’s Writing Tips: Show-not-tell with dialogue

Re-blogging my author friend Tony Talbot today – with a great post from him on show-not-tell in dialogue. He does some really good writing technique posts, like this, which you can find on the author blog we share at http://www.asidefromwriting.com or his own author blog: http://www.tony-talbot.co.uk/ – check him out and follow, if you’d like to see more of the same 🙂

asidefromwriting

One of the things they always tell writers to do is show and not tell. “Don’t Tell Me the Moon Is Shining; Show Me the Glint of Light on Broken Glass” to paraphrase playwright Anton Chekov. Chekov was talking about describing the world, but here’s another way you can use that show-not-tell: to describe your characters using only their dialogue and body language.

It’s certainly one of my favourite ways of doing it. Here are some snips from my own Eight Mile Island:

Mum comes out onto the deck from the cabin behind me and weaves along it towards me. …

“Dylan?”

I ignore her for a minute, pretending not to hear my name until she says it louder. I turn from the waves and face her. “What?”

“You’ve got to come inside. You’ll be washed away.”

“So?”

“Please, Dylan. Don’t start. Not today.”

And these are the first…

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