Betsy was worried.
Betsy fiddled with the bottles on the sideboard, casting glances over her shoulder at the door. Once, hearing footsteps in the hallway, she muffled the clinking of the bottles and held her breath until the footsteps continued on their way.Don't tell us Betsy is worried, show her being worried. Make the Reader worry also. As you can see, this may use a lot more word count; so...
Adam watched Betsy fuss with the bottles. The way she kept glancing toward the door, Adam thought she was worried about something. Should he be worried, too?
3. Avoid too much body language.
Mary opened her eyes and looked at the clock. Her heart nearly leapt out of her chest. The baby had slept nearly eight hours. But little Jane never slept more than four hours at a time. Something must be wrong.Not again. Her stomach rolled over when she remembered the last time a child of hers had slept too long.
Mary opened her eyes and squinted in the sunshine streaming in through the open window. She stretched, feeling more relaxed than she had since...
She sat up and looked at the clock. It was after eight. Little Jane had slept through the night. For the first time.Just like Billy.Mary flipped the covers back and stood. She snatched her robe from the back of the chair and slipped it on. She wouldn't think about Billy. The doctor said it wouldn't happen again. The odds against it were astronomical.Billy had been nearly six weeks old. Jane was almost two months. It was different this time. It had to be.-- Diane Callahan, Quotidian Writer, citing editor Robin Patchen
In the following excerpt, the harper and the scarred man are discussing a point in a story the latter has been telling her. As usual, I see things I would have done differently today, but the dialogue does show the clash of personalities
"...But, come, drink!” He raises his uisce bowl on high. “Drink to the quest!”
The harper disagrees. “The quest itself means nothing. The heart of the matter is Jason – and Medea – not the Fleece. The Argonauts could have sought anything, and their fates would have been the same.”
The scarred man strikes the table top with his flat, and the bowls and the tableware, and a few nearby drinkers, jump a little. “No! What you seek determines how you fail. Had Jason sought a Tin Whistle or an Aluminum Coffee Pot instead of a Golden Fleece, the failure would have run quite differently.”
“More musically in the first case,” the harper allows, “and with greater alertness in the second. But, must it always end in failure?"
“Your cynicism extracts a price. You can never know the thing in itself, because you always look past it for a hidden reality. I would think all failures alike. Coffee Pot or Golden Fleece, failure means you haven’t obtained what you sought.”
“No,” the scarred man mocks her. “Each failure is inevitably, enormously different from all the others. Each man who seeks does so for a different reason, and so can fail in a different way. Hercules failed in the quest for the Fleece; but his failure was of a different sort than Jason.”
“Jason secured the fleece,” the harper points out.
“That was his failure.”
-- Flynn, The January Dancer
A second reason for the ascendancy of pictures over words is that not only has the imagination of Western readers become primarily visual -- some pages of graphic "novels" may contain no words at all -- but also because much of what once needed description no longer does. Nineteenth century novels featured lush descriptions of places because their readers had likely never sen them. Nowadays, most have seen them on TV or movies that little telling is needed to evoke the place.
The old word-oriuented media required time. Reading wants silence and logical skills. But the visual iconic media employs brevity, speed, change, urgency, variety and feelings. Compare older movies or even TV show with newer ones, and note hoe scenes have become quicker and sometimes exist only to deliver a couple of lines of snappy dialogue. The writer today faces the challenge of imitating the 'shows' without sacrificing the logic.