Give Characters Some Space
Did you ever come across dialogues floating like the bubble thoughts of cartoon characters?
It’s when the dialogue starts on a page without narrating where the characters are. As if in a theater the director had decided to keep the hall in the dark and only voices can be heard. You can’t visualise what’s going on, and having readers visualise is the most important feature of a good story telling.
You don’t want your readers to ‘listen’ to a chat, and how can you give depth to your characters if they are only voices in the dark?
I visualize the location where the dialogue takes place, without the characters making their appearance in my mind, yet. I explore the place and note down if there are important details, those things that might be ‘used’ by the characters while discussing, or enter in their body-talk motions. You don’t need to go into lengthy descriptions, one sentence or two usually suffice.
Characters location can be done subtly, having them entering the space and sit, or watch out of the window, or resting against a piece of furniture before they start to talk.
You don’t need to be explicit, one can hint to a possible location—office, shop, living room, outdoor—by showing the characters interacting with the space around them, but refrain from having words told by characters within an impenetrable fog patch. Take them out of the fog.
Genre – Science Fiction
Rating – PG-13