Hope that title made you curious enough to keep reading. Today's post concerns itself with a little device writers use to break up chunks of dialogue. We're ever conscious of writing too much without pausing to let the reader digest (and savor) our words and so we look for interesting ways to make those text breaks. Conversation is linear but adding some motion into the mix can give more dimension to a paragraph. So what is this all about? Let's consider the face:
Eyes can stare and glare, peer and leer, glower or shine
Lift, arch, raise, narrow them
These can be pursed, parted, held firm, quiver, or tremble. They can be chewed upon, as well.
Creating the Passage
Now that I've got my moving body parts, let's see how this can work in a conversation.
"Jeeves," the old man glowered at the hapless servant. "Bring the brandy to the withdrawing room at once."
"Right away, my lord," the butler replied.
"Good help is so difficult to obtain these days," Lady Argyle said, narrowing her eyes and pursing her lips (a double use of the device here) as she spied a wilted rose in the vase next to the sideboard.
"Indeed," piped up Fauntleroy, glaring at the back of the hapless servant as he departed on his errand.
And so forth.
Question of the Day
Authors have pet expressions. One British author's characters seem to be constantly "pulling a face." I love Jayne Anne Krentz, writing as Amanda Quick. Many of her male characters spend some time "steepling their fingers" while they ponder what to say or do.
What pet expressions do your favorite authors use? Please share them with us.