1. UnrealCity
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    UnrealCity Active Member

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    Dialogue Narrative vs. Dialog?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by UnrealCity, Dec 15, 2013.

    Is there anything particularly unlikable about not having much dialog in a short story, even if the narrative pushes the story through at a fairly fast pace?

    I'm trying to discover my style while attempting to actually finish something of decent size. I'm writing a Futurama Fan-Fiction which I would like to use as a stepping stone into an independent story in the future. (Maybe I'll be finished in the year 3000...) The thing is, I'm dealing with a character that can only communicate sparingly on Earth, and I don't want to force dialog.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated. :)
     
  2. Dazen
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    Dazen Active Member

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    I guess it could be okay, as long as you use some other way to show the character's personality, and maybe communicate in another form?
     
  3. Vante
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    Vante New Member

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    I feel it really depends on the context of the scene. There is no right or wrong way, and as long as it feels right in the context.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If dialogue isn't needed, don't try to crowbar it in. You might have a single character with no one to speak to, and if you choose not to cranium crawl, you won't be writing out literal thoughts either.

    There's no requirement for dialogue. Without it, you are short one tool used by writers to shape character, but it isn't the only such tool.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if well-written, short stories can succeed with little dialog a lot more easily than could a novel...
     
  6. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    It's been done, of course, but there are some potential pitfalls.

    Remember that our job is to entertain not inform, and the reader doesn't come to us to learn the various events of the plot, they come for the emotional experience the story gives them. Leaving out character interaction in favor of listing the events may speed the story but it may also read like a chronicle of events—the history of a fictional character. Informative but not entertaining.

    The reader may appreciate what they learn, but in general, they want us to screw with their emotions. Look at a ghost story. You don't compliment the writer by saying that you loved the plot. You do by telling that writer that you were afraid to turn out the lights for a week. Your reader is most happy when you make them say, "Oh shit...now what do we do?"

    The best way to accomplish that is to place the reader in the character's footsteps and make them view what the protagonist is focused on, in any given moment, exactly as that character does, complete with their biases and preconceptions. Make the reader know the scene and the resources as the protagonist does and they will make the decisions the protagonist does and feel as if they're on the scene.
     
  7. UnrealCity
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    UnrealCity Active Member

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    Thank you all for your thoughts. I have some things to think about now. I don't want to force the dialog but I do want the story to be enjoyable and entertaining. I suppose dialog is just one of many tools in writing. Hopefully I can find a balance, even if that balance means just a little dialog where most appropriate.
     
  8. Cerebral
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    Cerebral Active Member

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    I prefer more narrative than dialogue, provided that the writing quality itself is enjoyable. Check out VS Naipaul if you want an example of how a narrative-heavy story should be told. The man has written books of massive length, no plot, and sparse dialogue; but his writing is seriously awe-inspiring.
     
  9. Siena
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    Siena Active Member

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    Nothing wrong with it. May even be a bonus.

    If you watch some films, you'd be surprised just how little dialog there is.
     
  10. M. B. Wright
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    M. B. Wright Member

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    With short stories, I feel there should be less dialogue than narration. Short stories don't seem to focus on characters that much (or at least the ones I like to read) but on the actions of characters and how they are influenced by what's around them. This is subjective so no, I don't see anything wrong with it. I will, however, echo that it does depend on the context.
     

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