Simple Dialogue Says A Lot

When I was at a wedding recently, my husband and I didn't know anyone there except for the bride (a friend of mine) and the groom who we met once.  We were seated at a table of strangers.  At least there was wine lol

But, as you do as a writer, you observe and take mental notes as to characteristics, personalities, and interactions.  After all, you never know when these things will come in handy.  Anyway, we were seated at a table with three other couples who had been married a while like us, but the thing is they knew each other.  As the one was discussing her mother's living arrangement and how they weren't married, another man at the table chimes in and adds one word:

"Committed."

That one word told me a lot about this guy.  The wedding was religious, and the man who said this is an elder in their church, but I didn't find this out until later on.  But his saying that one word was basically to clarify for the "outsiders" that they weren't "living in sin" because they were "committed".  He was a man who believes that sex outside of marriage, typically, isn't acceptable, or if it does happen, the relationship must be "committed".

It got me to thinking about how simple dialogue can be to convey a lot about a character.  It doesn't have to be complex streams of verbal diarrhea.  Sometimes, it can be as simple as one word.

Comments

  1. Good reminder. I would go so far as to say that the most powerful dialogue is almost *always* the simplest. Not that long speeches aren't sometimes necessarily, but the lines of dialogue that stick with readers, the lines that become game changers for the characters are almost always short and punchy.

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  2. I was just thinking about this subject the other day and you hit the nail on the head with this post.

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