In this new scene I’m writing three families get together at a country estate so there should be a lot of revelatory dialogue happening here, no problem.

Here’s what’s it sounds like so far:


That is the sound of a pin dropping. Pins are dropping, crickets are chirping, tumbleweeds are rolling through this incredible desert plain of silence.

Usually when I put a bunch of diverse characters in one place, they pop and sizzle. It’s like a conversational jamboree. I can’t write it down fast enough. But here? Nope. Nada. Nothing.

Then I realized: I’ve a total of 18 characters gathered together on the patio by the back garden. If each of them talks to the other, that’s something like 171 conversations. So its not so much that no one is talking but that the din is too loud! It’s all lost in the white noise. I can’t track what each individual is saying.

I need to break this tableau down into more manageable pieces. Thus, only specific characters will get their dialogue detailed with the precision of my fine tip pen. The rest will be painted with the more suggestive swath of a watercolor, mere impressions, a general outline.  Not everyone needs to be heard here, or I’m going to give my reader a cranked neck as they watch the conversational ping pong ball dash around the garden patio 171 times.

Right. Time to get my telephoto lens and my tiny spy microphone. Time to creep through the bushes in camouflage and eavesdrop a little closer!