Today it’s all about Dialogue.
Alright, as promised, today is blog-fest day! The point is to post a bit of our dialogue that we particularly like. So, I’ve decided to post a passage from Through Brass Goggles, because despite the difficulty I have with writing that particular piece, I think that dialogue and those characters are my most engaging ones. So, here is a scene from the middle. Zona, the MC and POV character, just had a bit of a shock followed by a sleepless night, and comes down to talk to her landlady, Mama Clément. They end up having a bit of gossip with the cook, Mistress Tina.
When you’re done reading here, be sure and hop over to the list on the Fiction Groupie Blog and read everyone else’s dialogue too!
“Good morning, Mama. Greetings Mistress Tina.”
Mama Clément tilted her head, inspecting me with opaque black eyes. “You look like death, cherie. What troubles you? Come, tell Mama.”
The cook turned a little away, though she didn’t move out of earshot, as I sat down. I smiled at Mama Clément, propping my elbows on the table and leaning my aching head on them. Pursing my lips, I considered my words carefully before I spoke.
“Just some bad news, Mama. Nothing to worry about. I’m fine now. Could I get some coffee, Mistress Tina?”
Mama eyed me in disbelief, but chose not to push the issue. Tina handed me a steaming mug and leaned against the table, arms folded.
“Merci. I haven’t had a chance to hear how you’ve fared for the past several years.” I inhaled the sharp fragrance, taking a small sip.
“Oh, life, it goes on, eh? Children grow up, guests coming and going. Vraiment, this area, it is pretty quiet.” Mama gestured eloquently.
“What about the riots? I saw in the paper—“
She snorted in disapproval. “Bunch of malcontents. Nothing to do with us. Idle rich folk, wanting to get richer and disappointed when they weren’t. Decent folk are content with what they have.” Her eyes narrowed. “But you? You haven’t told us why you left, or where you went! Nor why you returned, carrying nothing but a small bag!”
“Oh, you know. It was just one of those things, Mama. A misunderstanding, and I thought perhaps I’d better go somewhere else for a while. I wandered a bit, and when I felt I’d been gone long enough, I came back. This is home, really.”
“Hah! You take me for a fool, cherie? You on the run again!” I grinned into her scowl. She shook her head and grinned back. “Alright. Keep your secrets. Never could figure you out, cherie. I see you found a few more clothes at least. Now I suppose you’ll be finding a shop and moving out again.”
I nodded. “That’s the plan. You know of any for sale? I don’t fancy building from scratch. Again.”
“I haven’t heard, but I listen. If I hear of one, I tell you.”
Tina scratched an ear and broke in, “Dunno if it’s such a good idea bein’ in your business just now anyway, Mam’selle. Butcher’s boy said two Lady Inventors was attacked last night, in ‘er own shops no less!”
Mama turned her impressive glare on the cook. “For shame! You been sitting on this news all morning and never said?”
The cook shrugged her thin shoulders. “The boy only came after breakfast. I never thought to tell you. No one died.”
“Always tell me! Ai, I’m surrounded by cretins!”
“Well! If that’s how yer goin’ to be–”
Hoping to diffuse the brewing argument, I asked, “Mistress Tina, who attacked them? And why?”
Tina sniffed. “Well, no one knows why. Or who, though the police have been and gone. They do say it was the same person though, so I suppose it was just some madman with a grudge.” As she warmed to her story, she grew more animated, her argument forgotten. “One of them’s just down the street in fact! Attacked in ‘er own shop, can you imagine? But it was her machines what protected her, so I s’pose that’s just as well. You know Madame Marron who lives in the cul-de-sac? She was the second victim. I never heard of the other, she lives in another part of the city. But Madame Marron’s maid told the butcher and his boy overheard that the attacker was an Alb! Fancy that.”
She wound down, apparently finished. I sipped my coffee, and pondered this news for a moment, then dismissed it from my mind. Stretching, I brought the conversation around to my true purpose.
“Well, at least she has a shop. I still need one. And she has a maid! Goodness, she must be doing well. I think I should like having a maid.”
Mama smirked and Tina grinned. “Hah. I bet you would, cherie. Maybe you hire my Amélie, eh?”*
“Hmph. You two have the filthiest minds. If I were to hire a maid, I’d be sure and hire the best. Someone with experience. Like that waitress at Julien’s. She gave good service, and was cheerful too.”
*This is a reference to a previous relationship Zona had with Mama Clément’s daughter, Amélie.
Hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to leave me a comment about it, but please remember this is a first-draft (edited for this)!