Steven Erikson on Dialogue
Steven Erikson writes here about dialogue and how one should avoid having a character who exists purely to provide exposition:
You know the classic fantasy scene from AD&D where you walk into a tavern and ask somebody something and they actually tell you everything you need to know? Hate ‘em. No, hate’s too gentle a word. Despise. A perfect example of using dialogue to convey information – at the expense of character, realism, even imagination. Awful. Lazy. Insulting. Has this character no life beyond sitting there waiting to tell you all you need to know? No motivations? No secret likes, dislikes, fears, loves, weaknesses, hidden scars, sad memories?Interesting stuff. Particularly if you've just done a re-read of Gardens of the Moon, because he uses a scene from that book as an example of what he's writing about.