Missing Dialog

Timben

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Can someone work around this paragraph for me? It's not working for me. Especially what Mattie says. I dunno what's missing, but something is missing.
Jess caressed his maimed shoulder and forced himself through the crowd. Walking back toward where he had dropped his pistol it continued to lie on the ground. He bent down, picked it up, and holstered it. Mattie came running to Jess. She had heard the shooting.
“Jess!” said Mattie after seeing blood dripping down.
"Mattie, what are you doing here? I thought I told you to stay inside till this was over,” scolded Jess.
“Can’t a wife worry about her husband?” asked Mattie.
 
I don't think you necessarily need more dialogue. Probably some narrative that can bring the reader closer to her feelings for Jess and the prospect of anything untoward happening to him.
 
Taking this:
“Jess!” said Mattie after seeing blood dripping down.
"Mattie, what are you doing here? I thought I told you to stay inside till this was over,” scolded Jess.
“Can’t a wife worry about her husband?” asked Mattie.

And make it more like this: (Just my rough interpretation.)

“Jess!” she called as she reached out to him but stopped short after seeing blood dripping from the injured arm.

Jess stopped as she approached. "Mattie, what are you doing here?” He winced as she grabbed onto him but still shrugged her away. “I thought I told you to stay inside till this was over!” he said scoldingly as he stormed off. Hurt and angered by Jess’s reaction to her, Mattie caught up to him as tears began to stream down her face.

“Can’t a wife worry about her husband, Jess?” she pleaded but Jess ignored her, leaving his angered and grief-stricken wife behind. “Jess! No, please don’t!” she cried out.
 
The only change I could see to add a little more context to the last line maybe.


“Can’t a wife worry about her husband?” asked Mattie, reaching to examine his wound/offering a hand in support....etc.
 
This may be a case where it is better to show than tell. For example:


Nursing his shoulder, Jess pushed his way through the crowd towards where his weapon still lay on the ground. Bending to retrieve it, a familiar figure loomed over him. "Mattie, I thought I told you to stay indoors 'til this was over," he growled.

Kneeling down beside him, she gently removed his shirt to inspect the wound. "You need a doctor. Now."
 
This may be a case where it is better to show than tell. For example:


Nursing his shoulder, Jess pushed his way through the crowd towards where his weapon still lay on the ground. Bending to retrieve it, a familiar figure loomed over him. "Mattie, I thought I told you to stay indoors 'til this was over," he growled.

Kneeling down beside him, she gently removed his shirt to inspect the wound. "You need a doctor. Now."

This would be pretty close to what I'd have suggested.

'Caressed' threw me way off at the start of the original -- I feel like that's not something you do to yourself. At least not in public.
 
Jess caressed his maimed shoulder while forcing himself through the crowd, back to where he had dropped his pistol. It was still lying on the ground. He bent down, picked it up, and holstered it. Mattie came running to Jess.
“Jess!” exclaimed Mattie after seeing blood dripping down Jess' shoulder.
"Mattie, what are you doing here? I thought I told you to stay inside till this was over,” scolded Jess.
“I know, but I heard the shooting. I was worried. And you are wounded!”
 
I don't think I understand, could you explain it a little more?
There are some good and interesting examples given above.
However what I had in mind might be more like this.

'Jess!' said Mattie, fear etched across her face, but not fear for her self, her stern though loving gaze fixed upon the dripping blood.

Verbs and adverbs could be modified here to get across what you might think she is thinking or going through at the moment.
 
'Jess!' said Mattie, fear etched across her face, but not fear for her self, her stern though loving gaze fixed upon the dripping blood.
This switches the POV from Mattie to Jess. Also describes too much of Jess' inner state. I preferred the other examples that described what could be seen externally.
 

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