Friday, March 16, 2007

Dialogue O

“Impressive,” Michael said.

“Wasteful,” Indigo replied.

Though nearly empty at the moment, Michael guessed the cavernous cathedral could easily seat over a thousand. Behind and above them was a balcony area where two hundred more parishioners could share space with the sizeable choir. Indigo pointed these facts out cheerlessly, like a tour guide in a museum of the mundane. [If Indigo indeed pointed out these facts, you might want to drop "Michael guessed." No need to guess something that's been stated.]

“Too many empty seats?” Michael asked.

“On the contrary, the place is filled every Sunday.”

“Shouldn’t you be happy, then? I mean, to reach so many –”

“Many are here, detective, but I wonder about how many we reach. Most seem to enjoy the anonymity afforded by such a large gathering.”

“Anonymity? As if church were someplace they don’t want to be seen?”

In a way. I think some don’t want to be noticed on the Sundays they are here so they won’t be noticeable by their absence on the Sundays when they’re not.” [they aren't.]

Michael nodded. He had never been much for attending church himself.

“They needn’t worry,” Indigo continued. “Beyond the core group that sits up front and volunteers for every project, I couldn’t name very many names. Do you know how we keep track of our active parishioners, detective?

“No. How?”

[Same paragraph]Personalized envelopes. We send them out to everyone at the beginning of each month. People come in to worship and drop a pre-printed envelope in the collection plate with whatever they can spare for the week. and We use them [the ones that get dropped in the collection plate] to take attendance. Can you believe that? We count the faithful like box office receipts.”

--jrmosher

Well done. I note that the detective guesses incorrectly at what Indigo meant by "Wasteful," but that Indigo doesn't explain what he did mean.

8 comments:

writtenwyrdd said...

A suggestion: instead of "cavernous cathedral," which sounds rather ponderous, just have the second guy's voice echo. Actually, that whole second paragraph is a trifle ponderous and brings the dialog to a shuddering halt.

I think you can give most of this information either in the tags or dialog. Otherwise, the guy Indigo sounds like a ponderous fellow, so maybe you want the second paragraph to read that way.

I don't claim wide expertise on this, I didn't believe a church would waste postage on personalized envelopes. Wastes money the generally need elsewhere. Mine gives out boxes of blank envelopes whenever we need them.

whitemouse said...

I liked this; you get a lot of information across in a realistic manner, and it never once sounds like an "As you know, Bob" conversation. I thought it could be a bit leaner however, to get through that information faster.

Another good thing you've done is that I feel like I've got a decent picture of Indigo's personality; he comes across well. I don't feel like I really know Michael, but that's to be expected, given that he's a detective - you expect an investigator to put himself aside and just listen.

Overall, I thought it was a well-executed scene.

jrmosher said...

Evil Editor said: "Well done." That makes my whole weekend!

Wyrd / White: Thanks for the comments. Ponderous is a good word to describe Indigo, and since this chapter is his POV, I'm glad that comes across. Each chapter in the book sticks closely to the POV of one character, which is why in this chapter Michael is not illuminated as well. In other chapters Michael takes center stage.

Also, my church sends us a stack of envelopes at the beginning of each month, labeled with our name and the date of each Sunday, and also envelopes for "special" collections like heating and air conditioning, etc. I'm not certain, but they may get a break on postage? Kind of goes along with the whole "wasteful" thing, anyway.

[ Joe Mosher ]

writtenwyrdd said...

Still, you might consider parcelling out bits of paragraph 2 and cutting "cavernous cathedral" because that word cavernous attracts attention to your writing and not the scenery.

Bernita said...

"since this chapter is his POV."
Confused me, since this section appears to be in Michael's POV.

Dave said...

I just wanted to say that judging by the collection envelops is exactly the way most churches (including mine) track membership. If you give, you're a member. If they get envelops back, you're a member.

As for the discussion of cavernous, the word POPS because of the alliteration. Of course, saying cavernous cathedral and then describing the place as 1000 seats, plus 200 more in the choir loft with sizeable choir, is redundant.

Cavernous is one of "too many words."

Anonymous said...

Lemony Snicket would absolutely call it a "cavernous cathedral".

Anonymous said...

Ooh, this was cool. I'd keep going.

--Detri (dialogue J)