Part of a writer’s magic is to take something seemingly ordinary and make it interesting. But every author and every story will do this in a slightly different way. With the right context or character quirks, a writer can make something of the most mundane exchange.
Take, for example, a short conversation about one of the most uninspiring topics:
“What’s the weather like out there?” he asked.
“Still raining,” she said.
Not a lot of drama or intrigue, is there? But how would some of our best-loved wordsmiths make more of this?
Imagine Tolkien is writing it:
“Would you tell me, fair lady,” he asked, readying himself for the great journey ahead, “what weather rages beyond these walls? For I have many miles yet to walk.”
“My lord,” she answered, and her eyes were grave, like one who has seen many sorrows, “it continues to rain, with no sign of ceasing. I fear we shall bear this unto the end of the Third Age of Middle Earth.”
“Alas,” said he, and began to sing a song he had learned from the elves of Mirkwood long ago.
Or Jane Austen, who would find a way to be both domestic and a little bit feisty:
“My sister tells me the rain has not stopped,” he said, looking at her intently, “is it so?”
“Indeed, sir. We shall have to call off our much-anticipated picnic. But do not think that we ladies shall be dismayed by such a fate as this. We shall read and play cards this afternoon. I for one shall not be deterred from enjoying the day.”
“Of course,” he said, “you must all stay until the weather turns. We must not risk your father catching a chill in this rain. I will have my own carriage convey you home later.”
Now how about Shakespeare:
Pray tell me, how does Jove look down on us,
With weeping skies or bright Apollo’s eye?
Nay, see thyself, he torments mortals thus
With waters pouring from the heights above
Soon whale and sturgeon shall our neighbours be
At this point I learned that the trouble with writing in iambic pentameters is that once you have started, it’s very hard to stop!
I wonder who else I should include in here. I’d like to try imagining how Lewis Carroll would deal with this scene (I’m certain it would be surreal) or Alexandre Dumas (highly emotional and destined to end in a duel).