To dialogue or not to dialogue... Okay, that's not really the question but still, it amuses me.
I am a dialogue writer. I have practiced it, taken part in dialogue only flash fiction contests on WDC, and sometimes will write full scenes of just dialogue and then add the other stuff later. So, when Harley posted a "no dialogue" blogfest I had my doubts. Sure, I think Harley is awesome and I love entering any blogfest that I can (though I'm not entering a few, shocking... I know). But at the same time how was I going to write this scene? I mean, no dialogue, or that was my interpretation of the rules based on the original post. The truth is I know most of my weaknesses at this point in writing. Dialogue is not usually one of them. Description and setting are both weaknesses.
So, what's the problem? A few but I'll list one here since I know not everyone is even going to read this. Yes, you! I know you don't read the whole thing because the comments prove it. The truth that I'm starting to realize is that I don't have a strong understanding of show versus tell. I know, I know. It's one of those big rules and Harley even has posts about it, but I still don't get it. To me, it feels like I'm telling, and sometimes I get reviews/critiques that mention it as being kind of tell too (though that hasn't happened too often) when I do many sections without dialogue. This means I rely too much on dialogue and need to work on that. Anyways, blah blah blah. Let's get to the blogfest.
Body Language Blogfest
Created by Harley at thelabotomyofawriter
Minor note: I'm still trying to figure out how to address parents in my novels. I've seen authors refer to them by their first names but it seems awkward with teens or young adults as the main characters. So, I use Father or Mother, or something similar for the time being. Any suggestions on how to address parent characters, what to call them?
This entry is from my YA novel involving genetic mutation though that isn't obvious or even seen by this particular scene. It's the source of the tension, however. Ephram is a mutant but his parents aren't. That's all I'll tell you about. Enjoy the almost 500 word, no dialogue scene.
Novel: Tattle Tale (from rewrite of chapter 3)
With a tremble of a yawn, Ephram makes his way down a set of hard carpeted stairs and heads for the kitchen. He pauses in the living room to listen for evidence of life but it's a Saturday morning and his mother always works on Saturdays. Figuring his father is asleep or out of the house, he enters the kitchen in hopes of finding juice and maybe something to eat. He stops after getting past the door and it swings shut behind him but he doesn't move further into the kitchen. His father is there.
Father is making breakfast, or at least he was. At the sight of Ephram, he stops mid-action with a black spatula in his right hand. He doesn't move, as if that makes a difference somehow.
Silence takes over as neither produces a greeting and the only noise heard is whatever might be cooking on the stovetop, which doesn't make much noise. Instead, both stand in their spots and stare at each other in obvious discomfort.
To end the stand off, Ephram nods his head a little to break the moment before moving to the refrigerator. He opens it in search of juice while his father goes back to cooking, though he glances at Ephram a couple of times. After pulling out a carton of pineapple-orange blend juice, he moves to the cabinet space that is located away from the stovetop. Luckily, the one with the glasses is the one furthest away, so he is able to get a glass without worry of spooking Father even more. The uncomfortable energy isn't unusual between the two, so it's a little easier to ignore but that doesn't stop its existence.
After Ephram puts the juice on the table, he grabs a box of cereal from a different cabinet and then gets a bowl out before sitting. Another glance at Father shows he's busy with his food and not quite ready to leave the kitchen. After considering taking breakfast to his own room he decides to eat in the kitchen, but fast. Figuring it best to ignore the issue, he avoids looking at his father again and focuses on pouring the juice in his opaque glass.
As he grabs for the box of cereal, it gets pulled off the table. He looks up at his father, eyes widened a slight amount.
Father puts the box away and sets down a plate of eggs, sausage and pancakes in front of Ephram. He takes another plate and sits across at the same table.
Still staring, Ephram doesn't know what to do next. The food smells good but this is almost too strange for him to handle. He can't even remember the last time Father had spent more than five minutes in the same room. But here he sat, eating almost as if everything was normal. The uncomfortableness still exists, but it seems lighter. After some trepidation, Ephram shrugs his shoulders back a little and then begins to eat.