So my friends at critique group challenged me to write something only using dialog. I'm not really sure if it was a challenge or I just transformed it into one in my head. They said something about how they liked my dialog and I actually think one of them was tearing into me [with very sharp teeth] because I didn't have enough sensory details. Or something. And I was saying how sometimes I think it's okay to just let the characters talk without any blocking details or anything. I mean if they're sitting at the breakfast table and you've established that, I don't need the demise of every bite of bacon. I mean, another clue every little bit or so is okay, but not every line of dialog needs an action, internal thought...or sensory detail. (lol)
I just did a post on writing dialog, so you can check that out. Dialog should reveal things. Not only plot things, but character things too. I believe that through dialog, your characters live. Really live.
So I thought I'd write something with only (okay, MOSTLY) dialog. And I'm throwing down the gauntlet. That's right. This is a contest. I want you to submit a snippet of dialog (could be from your novel or something else you've written, or it could be something you specifically write for this Dialog Throwdown) in the comments on this thread. Maximum wordage: 250 words. Enter by say, Friday this week. That's the 15th.
I'll read them. Choose a winner. (Or should we vote? I'm all about a democracy, but I want everyone to play nice-nice.) The prize? I am sort of notorious for slaying queries, so I'll look at and help you privately with your query letter. If you don't need that because you're the query queen/king and/or I've already helped you, I'll shred, er, critique your first chapter.
So here's mine. Just so you know, this is a magic lesson between two humans (Jared and Annie) who don't know much magic and a group of magical beings (including Jon) who, well, know a lot of magic.
"You didn't do your protections," Jon said.
"I did too," I snapped.
"I wasn't talking to you."
"Shut up, Jon," Jared said.
"Jon, so help me…." I threatened.
"Okay, I'll help you." He stood up and threw a purple disc with a long tail spiraling behind it.
I didn't know any spells besides how to protect myself, but Jared set up the lame no-good shield again.
"Jared, what good is that going to do?" I asked.
"Shut up! It's all I know."
"I know you learned more than one spell today. I saw you."
"How many did you learn, princess?"
"I learned protections. That's all I know. Freakin' take them out!"
"I'm using what I have for this damn shield! You have more magic than me, help me out here!"
"I would, but—ack!" Ice snaked over my legs up to my waist. Whoever had done this was so dead. And right now, I could commit Jon's murder, no problem.
"See if you can get out," Jon said.
"What the hell is this?" Jared looked at his encased legs. "I did the shield."
"Two feet off the ground," Jon replied.
I raised my eyebrows at Jared. "Well?"
"Well what? I don't know what to do."
"How about an Inferno?" Jon suggested. Black fire soared across the library in a funnel, licking at me and melting the ice. I couldn't help the scream that tore through my throat. Next to me, Jared cussed like he didn't know any other words.
"Jon," Edgar said, almost wearily. "Dude, do we really need to freak them out?"
So...given the little you know about Jon, Annie (she's the "I" in the story) and Jared, what do you think Jon would say to that? What about Jared or Annie? Do you get a little glimpse of who they are?
And now it's your turn! Lay it on me, baby!