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Where to Break Dialog

Be careful where you break up conversations to discuss setting or emotions.

The following example is from a revision of Dream Eater’s Carnival.

Before:

“I heard about your meeting with Torgos,” Dika said.

“How did you know about that?” Leisl asked, taking a seat at the narrow table. Most of the troupe shared dinner in a common caravan house. Unfortunately, it was the oldest, leakiest house.

“It’s a small troupe.”

After:

Leisl took a seat at the narrow table. Most of the troupe shared dinner in a common caravan house. Unfortunately, it was the oldest, leakiest house.

“I heard about your meeting with Torgos,” Dika said.

“How did you hear about that?”

“It’s a small troupe.”

The setting was moved up so Leisl and Dika could speak uninterrupted.

 

In the next excerpt, Leisl is meeting with the carnival owner for the first time. She’s already run away from home and is starting to get settled in with her new “family.” Torgos asks an unexpected question, and Leisl has a moment of panic.

“What can you do?” Torgos asked.

Leisl started at the question. Barnum had made it sound like nerve alone warranted her space with the caravan, yet now her skills were being called into question. It made her nervous.

She had already left her cathedral; if Torgos fired her she had nowhere to go. The threat of homelessness made her want to tell the truth. As a child, the cathedral had tattooed her arms and embedded them with amber, enabling her to generate lightning. With a little training, she could put on a dazzling show.

Torgos was clearly capable of training her for such showmanship, but uncertainty stilled her tongue. Ursula hadn’t mentioned her amber since her first day, but she kept plenty of concealing clothing on hand for Leisl.

“I’m waiting,” Torgos said with an annoyed smile.

 
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