A Good Thing or Lazy Writing I stumbled across a review the other day where the reviewer lamented the preponderance of dialogue in a book.
Then the reviewer went on to say that writing a dialogue heavy book made it a simplistic book, an easy read, a lazy effort, an uncomplicated plotline because everyone knows it's the character's inner monologue and descriptions of setting and scene which truly makes a book and gold oakleys the characters come alive through description, not action. My first thought was WTF? My second thought (well, besides SCREW YOU because this review was aimed at my alter ego's latest effort, and she was the only reviewer who picked at something every other reviewer applauded) was how sad that this reviewer preferred purple prose to actual prose. I think dialogue is incredibly hard to write and very hard to write well. Trying to make it read like a conversation, not an info dump, not loading it with tons of dialogue tags which add weight but no meaning, making it a scene that leads to action or carries action. Or using it as an external reveal for the character speaking to make his or her thoughts a public, rather than a oakley c wire sunglasses private realization, to the reader and the other characters in the scene is difficult to pull off not just once, but throughout the whole of the book. Yes, all the balance of the rest of those elements setting, scene, action, internal and external conflict make a good book, but kick ass dialogue makes a good book a great one. When dialogue flows, is easy to read and understand, is funny, revealing, poignant, and devastating all in one single sentence, it is exactly the opposite of lazy: it can be sheer poetry. Do you think monster dog the whole 'showing versus telling' school of thought means description, not action, not verbal interplay? Besides Elmore Leonard, King of Dialogue aside, who do you think excels at dialogue in any genre, not just crime fiction? Gerald, you exactly right, and run on taglines are even worse. I find myself skimming long passages too. Shout out to Toni, who manages to make dialogue hysterically funny, and makes it look easy when we all know how damn difficult that is :0 Karen, interesting the dialogue critic hasn been published and woe to the students in her class. Alison, Austen clever banter has withstood the test of time, hasn it? I second all of the bullshits, but I will say that some books rely too heavily on bad dialogue. And I would rather read bad description and prose than bad dialogue. I love dialogue though, so for me sometimes it can be lazy writing. I get into a groove and ignore everything else because I don really care where its set or what else in going on. That usually fixed in rewrites though. I add Kevin Smith the those who do dialogue well. And though his novels are full of ripe, sometimes awful dialogue, Joe Konrath does some amazing things with dialogue in his short stories, especially the Phinn Trout ones. And Dennis Lehane is great with dialogue, so is Victor Gischler Funny dialogue is even harder to write than good dramatic dialogue. I agree with you, Lori. Dialogue is one of the most difficult parts of writing. You need to stay in character with word choices and corresponding actions. It not about talking heads, it about the conversation and result of that conversation for the people involved. I read all my dialogue out oakley wingspan loud during the page proof stage to make sure it sounds right. I also have brief dialogue scenes as part of an investigation, rather than a paragraph where my protagonist simply states what information they learned from person A. Even if person A never comes on again, it makes it more immediate and real to put the conversation in so the reader can experience learning info with the protagonist. Again, it about balance. I tend to have too much internalization in my books, but it probably because I torture my characters with tragic backstories and angst. I always striving to improve my dialogue. Toni is a master of dialogue that moves the story, I totally agree! Another friend of mine, Karin Tabke (who writes erotic romantic suspense) has great dialogue.
It snappy and you can really hear the characters talking (or fighting). JD Robb has the best dialogue out there. It fast, it moves, it immediate, and each of her character voices are unique.
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