I've been told that dialogue is a strength of mine. But Zombie Bowl required a different focus, largely because for the first 50 pages, there is only one human surviving among thousands of zombies. And she doesn't say a word.
So, instead of dialogue, I focused on description - on atmosphere. The world May lives in is bleak, dangerous, and very big - too big. There is too much space, be it the wide, open sky above her head or the empty city all around her.
In the unedited version, May said maybe 11 words in those first 50 pages, but after reading the novella a few times, I realized I didn't like them. So, I cut them out but still wanted readers to be able to get inside her head. I wanted them to know her. Considering the p.o.v is written from third-person with no internal dialogue, I included snippets of her journal.
And those journal entires served two purposes. One: they were the lessons and observations May picked up while cleaning out the zombie infestation in her hometown. And two: there is no better way to define this quiet, focused, introverted young woman than quick peeks into her personal thoughts.
Description is a great deal harder to write than dialogue, because if I'm not careful, my sentences can end up sounding formulaic, and what I mean by 'formulaic' is that the word order is the same, like this:
'KT opened the door. She stuck her ear to the door. She heard nothing, so she stepped inside.'
Boring. And bad writing. I can usually tell when I've fallen into this habit after I read my story aloud. (There's no better editor than to hear what I've written.) Now, to avoid that, and because the story focused solely on description, I had to vary my sentence structure, so the above example turns into this:
KT rested her fingertips on the doorknob and turned it. She paused, an ear to the doorcrack. Only silence greeted her, so she let her toe-to-heel steps carry her forward.'
Better, more descriptive. (not perfect, mind you, but this is just an example)
Zombie Bowl required constant sentence structure analysis, because readers - subconsciously or not -will be able to catch that formula, and they'll put the book down, thinking it's boring or not good, though they may not know why. I definitely didn't want Zombie Bowl like the first example, and that challenge has pushed me farther than any writing project I've started. I've learned alot from my novella, and I hope you enjoy it... because even though it was difficult to write, it's also one of my favorites.
Look for it on Amazon Kindle: Zombie Bowl: The Legacy of Dr. Z: as Recorded by KT Swartz. And if you like Urban Fantasy, look for 'These Chains that Bind: A Juliet Harrison Novel'.