A quick little tidbit about non-dialogue. Or “show, don’t tell.”
Do this exercise with me. Head out to your favorite used bookstore and find a copy of your favorite book. I don’t care what it is, but it would be helpful if it’s by an author known to be exceptional at what they do. Buy a copy of the book (hopefully supporting a local business when you do so) and head back home.
And here’s why I don’t advocate using a copy you already have on hand. Next thing you’ll need is a black magic marker. I want you to uncap that bad boy and cross out ALL the dialogue. Anything in quotes.
I know, I know. It’s gonna take a while. But do it for a lot of pages. Maybe a whole chapter.
Now start reading. The idea, of course, is to make it like a silent movie. Ever watch a silent movie? Or a movie with the sound turned off? You want to see real artistry, try watching something whose whole point is to give you the narrative without words. It isn’t easy.
This is the essence of “show, don’t tell.”
Learn to do this part well, and your non-dialogue will start to pop.