A portion of Mars with Cupid,
(my scanner didn't care for Cupid)
Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri),
oil on canvas, 1649.
Cincinnati Art Museum.
I like reading excerpts.
One of the reasons I like reading samples from WsIP is because the short snippits may magnify, by their brevity, a facet of writing skill.
Gabriele of the Lost Fort posts portions of her historical fiction every Friday as a contribution to one of those round-robin internet thingies.
Her scene from Friday describes a tense and dramatic confrontation - a challenge by a rightful leader to a ursurper, from Kings and Rebels.
Observe a bit of dialogue:
"Agantyr took a step back, the sword in his hand pointing down.
I thought you dead, drowned in Maelaren lake.
I live, Kormac said..."
Writers are advised to differentiate the voices of their characters so they don't all sound the same.
What is not always emphasized is that dialogue must also suit the situation.
Sometimes I experience a vague sense of irritation at dialogue and it doesn't seem to matter what genre. This snippit brought home why.
Short and sweet and entirely consistent with the scene. No long oratorical, info-dumpy excesses to dilute the tension while other characters stand around scratching their asses and cleaning their fingernails with their choice of blade.
There's about to be a lot of slash and burn and blood. Trial by combat. The fate and future of a lot of people hang on the outcome. No one's going to run off at the mouth in a situation like this. Not for real. There might be trash talk later, while they're having at it, but not now.
Two terse words. Which, incidentally, tell us a lot about the character too -- which is another job for dialogue.
Well done, Gabriele.