Today’s #1LineWed is all about dialogue. Characters talking means telling rather than showing. That’s a good thing, as opposed to that whole show is better than tell thing. Info dumps (telling) is not good. Bringing out info/back story via conversation? Much better! Of course, sometimes, characters talk too much. LOLOL
Here’s a long excerpt with lots of talking, starring my favorite mundane FBI agent, Sade Marquis. This is edited to keep that in mind as Sade goes head-to-head with a less than cooperative werewolf while she’s searching for the missing Caleb.
Survival. Sade was beginning to wonder if it was overrated. After a quick call to the director’s Admin, Alice, she’d caught a plane to Albuquerque. With no leads, she’d gone back to the beginning. She stood over the grave of Bear Montoya in Carlsbad. She read Caleb’s emails. And here she was bouncing along a sorry excuse for a road headed to a place named Buhmfuch. Seriously? Could her life get any more fucked up? She should have known better to ask the Universe because, pulling up at the Teepee Motor Court, she discovered that yes, yes it could.
Two guys lounged on metal, shell-back lawn chairs near the front door. A furtive-eyed woman with scraggly gray hair slammed the motel office door shut as Sade climbed out of her rental SUV. Low-key, Alice had said. No official vehicles. Yeah. Right.
Sade approached but stayed back about ten feet. Her reflexes were good, despite lack of sleep. She could take them down before they reached her, especially since her Sig was loaded with silver bullets.
Okay. The big guy first. Sade stared him in the eye, but watched the second man in her peripheral vision. Multi-tasking. Always helpful when surviving a close encounter of the magicks kind.
“I see we’ve met. I want to talk to your Alpha.”
She laughed. Loud and long. Slapped her thigh. Wheezed in air. Then sobered immediately. “Yeah, right. You’re the Alpha. Good one. You should be a comedian. Listen up, Benji. Orrin Johnson. Take me to him now or I’m calling in air support. Y’all won’t like fighter jets buzzing the desert floor. Trust me.”
“You don’t got that power.”
She slipped her phone from her jacket pocket and hoped like hell she had bars. When the guy blinked first, she gloated. She still had the best poker face to come out of Quantico.
“I gotta tell ’im who’s comin’.”
“Marquis. Sade Marquis.”
The smaller guy beside him gulped. “Aw, hell, Buddy. Do you know who this is?”
“Sh’up, Moe. Don’t know. Don’t care.”
“You should, man. You should.”
Sade expected the man to go belly up and pee himself. Buddy didn’t seem at all impressed. She would disabuse him of that. Soon.
An hour’s drive over a non-existent road later, she stood in the center of a ragtag community of campers, trailers, and an old school bus. The Alpha of the Johnson pack was everything she hated about werewolves. Thank the gods Caleb had grown up a Jones. The alpha of the Jones pack, Romulus Jones, was rough around the edges, a redneck of the first order, but the man had class.
She opened negotiations. “Caleb Jones.”
Johnson scratched grimy fingers across a tobacco-juice-stained wife beater that might have been white. Once. A decade or two ago. “Don’t know who you’re talkin’ about.”
“Yeah, I think you do. Something about missing wolf pups? Ring a bell?”
“Whatchu want with her?”
“I hear he took her on a shopping trip.”
Her eyes flicked to the largest trailer, caught movement at the window. “Hey, Mimi! C’mon out and join the party.”
“Leave my girl outta this.”
Seething now, Sade demanded, “Where is he?”
The werewolf alpha scratched his chin. “Don’t know.”
“When did you last see him?”
“Couple months ago.”
She wanted to scream in frustration. Or beat the crap out of the shifter. Neither was likely to happen. Warning growls from the pack trailed off and the cool desert night dropped a few degrees. Sinjen. Here. She could feel him. But how? Why? He was supposed to be in Chicago.
“Come, Sade. They can do nothing.”
His voice washed over her, touched lonely places she’d dammed up since leaving him. “I have to find Caleb.”
She whirled, fists clenched and ready for battle. The look on his face undid her. Like air seeping from a balloon, her tension deflated. His full lips curled into a knowing smile.
“Come with me.” He held out his hand and she took it without thought. With a curt nod to the pack, he led her away.
Inside her SUV, Sinjen cupped her cheek and traced her lips with his thumb. “I’ve missed you.”
“Me too you. Caleb’s in trouble, Sinjen.”
“Then I will help you. The monster under this bed is unlike any you’ve faced before.”
“I’ll figure out a way to kill it.”
“And I will figure out a way to protect you.”
“Nice to know you have my back.”
“And your front.”
“No time to play, Sinjen.”
“There is always time for this.” The vampire kissed her, his lips branding her mouth. “There. That’s better. Now let’s go wolf hunting.”
“If he’s dead, I’m going to kill him.”
What about y’all? What are your characters talking about?