Dialogue Part Deux

Published by captain kate in the blog captain kate's blog. Views: 100

Here's a conversation between Kate and the mercenary commander Colonel Markham. It's in her POV, and I'll talk about it at the bottom,

The oily bark felt slick against the back of her knees as she swung down to hang upside down. The merc commander stopped, less then a foot away, to give orders, and Kate could hear his heartbeat. She smiled and then whistled softly.
He turned to see the source of the sound, his forehead bumping against the end of the Glock’s slide with the barrel’s opening flush against the man’s skin. Kate watched him go white, and the merc’s heartbeat raced. She looked at him mildly, and raised a eyebrow.
“Hello.” Kate said. “I believe we have some business to discuss.”
He blanched. “Uh…ok.”
“First off.” She said. “Call the kids off. I can kill all of your team in less then two seconds.”
“I find that hard to believe.”

Kate raised an eyebrow. “If you feel that way, then our business is over. I came to talk.”
The merc never took his eyes of hers. “About what? You’ve killed several of my team. I know you ended Sally’s agony but it doesn’t change the fact you murdered a sixteen year old girl.”
“Murder.” Kate said mildly. “Is defined by people who sit back in nice padded chairs, smoking cigars and drinking cognac while others are on battlefields.”
“Doesn’t change anything, though.”
Kate shrugged. “No, it doesn’t.” She agreed. “But I’m doing this for Sally. You see, I’m going to talk, and you’re going to listen.”

(Let's look at the section, and there's good reason for why tags go where they go. In the first line, Kate's eyebrow went up BEFORE she spoke, so it wouldn't make sense to tag it on the end because it then makes it seem she did it after talking. A small but subtle difference that shows personality better. Now 'said mildly' went where it was because the ENTIRE comment was in a mild tone, so it made sense to leave it there. The shrugged it another action before speaking, with the tag put in intentionally to create a BEAT there. A BEAT in both play and script writing is a pause. While the word isn't used in writing, putting a tag strategically allows you to achieve the same goal.)

“First off, what’s your name?”
“Well, Markham.” She said. “You do know they’re pursuing me to keep from stopping your employer from killing the President.”
“Good.” Kate said mildly. “So we both know where we stand. Sally bothered me a lot.”
“It should have.”
“Well.” She said. “If people weren’t trying to kill me, ya know, shit like this wouldn’t happen. But, ya know, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.”

(Here there are no physical actions before the speech, so the tags are lined up appropriately. As said before, they can be used for pauses, and I personally wanted a few pauses in there. Like on the last line. "Well" PAUSE "If people weren't..." So there's plenty of uses for tags in a dialogue scene to help create the scene you want. It's a matter of experimenting with them, and understanding the mechanics of words, writing and what kind of pace you want.)
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