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Side-eye is what you need. He shifted his eyes, giving Mary Sue a side-long glance as he folded his arms. "Really? No idea what I could possibly be talking about? Sure," he said, leveling his gaze at her. Or, you can deal with another way: A noise of frustration escaped his lips as he put a hand to his head. "Don't pretend not to know what I mean. It ...


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Heed Coleridge's admonition to Wordsworth: "it is impossible to imitate truly a dull and garrulous discourse, without repeating the effects of dullness and garrulity." So this may be one of those time to tell rather than show. That said, it is possible to present a garrulous character who is highly amusing to the reader while clearly tedious to his audience....


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Your character can be boring, but your story shouldn't be. Here's the golden ideal: every line of prose and every line of dialogue should serve a purpose. If somebody is saying a lot of boring stuff, most of that stuff doesn't serve any purpose - and should be avoided in your final draft. But, there's a difference between being bored by a character, vs. ...


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Get everything out in the first draft. Let him ramble on all you like. Put the first draft aide for a month or so. Go back and re-read, and be absolutely ruthless in your culling when re-reading his rambling. If you still can't tell if he's talking too much, hand the ms off to a good beta reader with the explicit instruction that you need to know if/when ...


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I would start by "showing" what the guards are up to in the eyes of one of the plotters...then connect this vision to the eyes of another plotter who sees the same thing...thus "showing" without telling (they simply see the same thing as a pattern which implies a weakness and possible escape.) To build the suspense then have the plotters discover a "code" ...


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The pertinent question here is: what is it you're trying to show? In other words, you need to first understand what the focus and purpose of the planning scene is. Only then do you know what to show, and therefore how to do it. A few simple examples: If the purpose of the scene is to set up a brilliant plan which later fails dramatically, then you ...


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Philipp provides a good answer, but I think there is more to say. First, "show don't tell" has kind of become the touchstone of all advice about storytelling but it is good to remember that it originated as a piece of advice for novelists moving to writing screenplays. What is told in a novel must be shown in a movie. In fact, novels do have to do a fair ...


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That's why the tropes Unspoken Plan Guarantee and Impossible Mission Collapse exist. When you first describe a plan in detail and then describe its flawless execution in detail, the latter is just a retelling of the first, which is boring and redundant. It is often more interesting to have the elaborate plan fail early in some way, which challenges the ...


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You want to begin a story with "action." In most cases, it's physical action. But in some cases, it's "psychological" action that is best depicted by dialog, so starting a story with dialog is not necessarily a bad thing. For instance, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice begins, "IT is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a ...


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The reason people say not to start your story with dialogue is because doing so throws you into the story without giving you any context. The exposition you give has no background to build off of, and the action that tends to follow feels meaningless to a new reader. Here, that lack of exposition is very prevalent. The problem I have--and that a lot of your ...


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It's fine to start a story with dialogue; a lot of books do this. Using dialogue at the start could help you build a sense of mystery, or suspense, as you have been thrown straight into an ongoing scene. Starting a story with dialogue isn't bad, but some might say its overused. Be sure not to throw the reader into a maelstrom of dialogue right away though. ...


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Of course you can start your story with dialogue. It happens in many books. However, it is true that the reader will feel disoriented from the get go, so you should do your best to clarify everything (through dialogue or otherwise) as early as possible. Nobody drops a book completely in the first chapter, the absolute worst thing that could happen is people ...


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As you say, there are many stories that work that start with dialogue. Far too much advice about writing is much too mechanical in nature. Dialogue is just a mechanism for telling a story. Rules about which mechanism to use are silly, and usually easy to prove false with counter-examples. What a story must do is to establish conflict. Can you do that with ...


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Let's start with 2. It's up to you - nobody decides anything about your manuscript except you. Do you want them to be background characters? Then let them be background characters. Do you want them to play a major part? Then don't let them be background characters. As for 1, It would be controversial if you wished it to be so, by assigning certain ...


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Proper names get capitalized. Generic names don't. Federal Bureau of Sparkly Vampires Department of Redundancy Department Imperial Dogwalkers Consortium The Sacred Order of Turnip Twaddlers The Church of Saint Spock the Pointy-Eared The United Provinces of Cumberbatch the Hiddlestoners Rebellion Judean People's Front (not to be confused with the People's ...


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While through your description i assume your story is a serious one, i think your best point of reference would come from comedy. It is a common trope in comedy, specially british comedy, to have characters who don't like anyone else, or that aren't particularly interested in anyone else. Like for example Jim, from Yahtzee Croshaw comedy novel "Mogworld". "...


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Consider writing the local character's story as a separate scene (and perhaps a separate chapter), with clear transitions between the two timeframes: "So, how did you end up here?" Hero said. "Make yourself comfortable, youngster," Local Character said. "This is going to take a while." # <scene break> It was 1953, and my mother had just ...



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