1. naturemage
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    naturemage Active Member

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    dialogue

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by naturemage, Dec 8, 2011.

    I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, so I'll give it a shot.
    Is there an unwritten rule for dialogue, as far as amounts? I often feel like I have too much dialogue in my stories, because when I write, I picture in my mind what my story would look like on the big screen (not that I ever imagine it getting there, but a dream is a dream). Anyhow, I often feel like my story is stuck between quotes, all talk and not much else. Is there a suggestion of how much of your story should be dialogue?
    And also, does anyone else ever feel this way, that they have too much dialogue? How do you cure it?
     
  2. lameri
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    lameri Senior Member

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    I think that dialogue is essencial to describe characters, but to describe them well, you also need narrative. There are things that are too private for a character to state them. Of course, you can embed them in the dialogue (before or after a dialogue line), but you can also take them aside and add a description.
    Of course, like always, nobody knows your manuscript better than you. I would only ask the question: Are my characters and settings well defined? Would they benefit from narrative?
     
  3. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I used to have the opposite problem with too little of it, but I think I'm getting over that right now that I'm writing my current story, it contains a lot of dialogue. I've seen books with ONLY dialogue, ok, they were pretty short, but it proves it's not bad as long as it's interesting I think. But I agree with lameri that it works best with some narrative too. many people find the dialogue the most interesting part of a book, and i agree to some extent, so i don't think you should worry as long as it's not exclusively dialogue for 350 pages :D (although it would be interesting to see how something like that would work)
     
  4. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    Too much of anything is bad. Dialogue generally comes easy for me and because of that my rough draft often is missing a sense of place but it's not too difficult to go back and add that in. In the rough draft, what's important is getting your story down, if it's dialog heavy that's okay. It's way easier to fix something than it is to create it.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there's no written or unwritten rule... some writers can make a heavy amount of dialog work and some can't... no one can tell which you are without reading what you wrote...
     
  6. Padme Skywalker
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    Padme Skywalker New Member

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    I also like to write by seeing it as though it were a movie, and I too occasionally have the problem of too much dialogue.

    What I like to do is take a movie and watch it without sound, taking special note of any movements from the characters, such as fidgeting or the like, or things in the background. It's interesting how much one will notice without sound. Then when I write something, I always have in mind little things that could be going on with or around the characters as they talk (like a clock ticking, or the protagonist playing with the pencil in his hands), and I therefore have plenty of things to add between the dialogue; I also find that it makes the writing seem more real. Characters who have peculiar little habits like, perhaps, squinting an eye while thinking are also fun to play with, as you can communicate things without dialogue, if you wish.

    I also would suggest taking a look at Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series; he uses a lot of dialogue, and, I think, manages it very well.
     
  7. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I cured the problem by writing my novels are screenplays first. A good screenplay will not have talking heads.
     
  8. naturemage
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    naturemage Active Member

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    Thanks for all your help everyone! I just get nervous because my characters talk a lot, but I suppose it is my rough draft. I always just try to get my story down first, so I don't forget anything. Then I go back to add things in, like descriptions and other things I may have forgotten. The important stuff always comes out from my fingers first.
    Again, thanks!
     

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