I have my hero arriving in town shortly after an ambush where his damsel is kidnapped. (I know it reeks of cliche, but there's more to it than that.) The story of the ambush is a bit of a doozy (1000+ words), though pivotal to the story. At the moment I have an eyewitness explaining the event through dialogue, pages of the stuff. Just wondering if coming across such a dialogue heavy few pages would sour the reader, especially being mostly one sided.
I have experimented with using exposition instead, ie:
The fellow set down his tankard. 'I can see you won't let me drink my beer in peace until you hear the sordid tale, so sit back, shut up, and lend me your ear.' Words began to spill from the man's lips. They painted pictures of pain and betrayal, pictures that burned like acid and dragged him kicking and screaming into the harrowing scene...
The damsel and her protector rode into town, unaware of the soldiers lying in wait... blah blah blah.
It works to do it that way, but it feels like cheating and lacks the personality of the speaker who can otherwise impose his views on the event, ie:
'The disfigured wench and her greybearded lover rode into town, as sorry a pair as I've seen this side of a graveyard fence. If only they'd known then what awaited them...'
Anyway, just wondering if I can get away with such a big chunk of dialogue, and if so, how would I punctuate dialogue within dialogue, ie:
'The man dragged on the reins when he saw the soldier. "Get out of here girl, I'll keep them busy." (' or no as its technically the end of paragraph?)
(' or no as there is already "?) "Not without you!"
Thanks in advance.