Description, Action or Dialogue?

Diagoras, Greek classic era statueI’ve come to a point in my story where Silvanus engages in heart-searching exchanges with his wise old mentor, Cerbonius. They don’t do much. They talk. This, I realize, can quickly become boring for the reader, who is hoping for more excitement.

What’s the solution?

Well: Look how others do it!

At the moment, I’m (re-)reading Brian McLaren’s excellent book The Story We Find Ourselves In, the second of a trilogy. It’s totally different from my book, Aquila. But it manages to pack very deep philosophical ideas, conveyed largely through dialogue, into a fascinating drama which is at the same time breathtaking (watching giant tortoises mate in the Galápagos islands), harrowing (struggling with cancer and experiencing 9/11 live), and moving, as the players begin to understand God’s plan for this world and love for them in a totally new way.

McLaren’s secret for keeping the reader’s attention is to combine activities with dialogue, while including vivid descriptions of the environment the actors find themselves in.

I’m learning from my betters (I hope).

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