The other day my daughter orally lamented a previous conversation. “I always think of my best come-backs too late.” I know how she feels, although I’m probably on the other end of the spectrum—I often wish I hadn’t said X or Y once the conversation is done. At least in writing we can carefully craft our words, which should make it easier, right? Not necessarily. Writing effective, authentic, snappy dialogue is a skill that must be honed. And yet, when done well, it plunges the reader deep into the story and provides vivid characterization.
This last week two authors threw their “chatty-keyboards” into the Clash of the Titles' ring and although both excerpts were phenomenal, Sarah Sundin, author of A Memory Between Us, wowed readers with her printed banter.
Jack made out Ruth’s shapely figure coming down Northgate Street. She couldn’t afford the new olive drab uniforms some of the nurses wore, but she sure looked smart in the dark blue jacket and medium blue skirt.
Jack stepped back around the corner. He unzipped his lightweight leather flight jacket, made sure his shirt collar was open, and stuffed his hands into the pockets of his olive drab trousers. Had to look casual.
He let Ruth pass, then fell in behind her. “‘One misty moisty morning.’”
Ruth looked over her shoulder and smiled.
“‘When cloudy was the weather, I chanced to meet an old man clothed all in leather. He began to compliment and I began to grin. How do you do? And how do you do? And how do you do again?’”
Amusement crinkled her eyes. “It’s afternoon.”
“Yeah, but it’s misty and moisty. Life in England has taught me what that means.”
“No misty moisty mornings in California?”
“In January, not August.” Jack proceeded down the flagstone sidewalk. “And look, you chanced to meet an old man clothed all in leather.”
*** Gotta love that phrase, “Misty, moisty morning,” an example of great dialogue and fun alliteration!
The story it came from is about a determined soldier on a mission to win a woman’s heart:
Major Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge--until he meets army nurse Lieutenant Ruth Doherty. When Jack lands in the army hospital after a plane crash, he makes winning Ruth's heart a top-priority mission. But he has his work cut out for him. Not only is Ruth focused on her work in order to support her orphaned siblings back home, she also is determined not to give her heart to any man. As the danger and tension of World War II rise to a fever pitch, Jack and Ruth will need each other more than ever. Can Jack break down her defenses? Or are they destined to go their separate ways? From the English countryside to the perilous skies over France, A Memory Between Us takes you on a journey through love, forgiveness, and sacrifice.
Romance, tough, rugged men, and rich history make this novel a must read!
Want to nibble on a few more COTT winning excerpts and win great prizes in the process? Make sure to join us for the ultimate literary challenge where COTT winners go head to head in our Tournament of Champions on October 10th to November 4th! What better way to launch the Holiday season than with a stash of great books won in our tournament give-away?
*Jennifer Slattery writes for Christ to the World Ministries, Samie Sisters, Afictionado, the Christian Pulse, and is the marketing manager of the literary website, Clash of the Titles. She also co-hosts (with five other authors) the Facebook faith community, Living by Grace, a modern-day “meet at the well” experience where believers around the globe can unite, fellowship, and be refreshed. Visit her devotional blog, Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud to find out more about her, her writing, and the ministries she writes for.
And make sure to hop on over to Clash of the Titles to help determine our next literary champion!