05 April 2016


**My theme for this year's A to Z Challenge is THE REVISION PROJECT. Topics I come across while I write the third draft of my novel, Uneven Lines.**

Sometimes I hated words. There were so many better things you could do with your mouth than talk. 

You probably thought I'd share some witty snippet of dialogue, right? Well, that would have been difficult. I love dialogue. Loooooove it. Finding my favorite line of dialogue to share would have taken months. I'm a dialogue abuser. Sometimes (ok, most times), I first start out a scene by writing all the dialogue and then filling in everything that happens in between. Dialogue comes the easiest to me, especially if I'm struggling with the blank page. But why is that?

Maybe sometimes it's easier to think of what people would say rather than what they would do or think. Especially when you're only in one character's head; you can't actually say what anyone else is thinking. Only the narrator's thoughts can be told. So dialogue helps in finding out information from other characters.

My issue is usually using too much dialogue. If I write out a full page of it and try to fill in some exposition in between, there are only so many shrugs and sighs and reaction thoughts I can squeeze in until it just seems silly. So sometimes you have to cut back on the dialogue. Only show what is entirely necessary.

The weird thing about dialogue in a story is that it's kind of like real life, but it isn't. You want your dialogue to sound realistic, like it's something a real person would actually say. But at the same time, you don't want to fill your pages with the kind of boring, everyday conversations that fill most of our lives. You just want those juicy, interesting moments. You want dialogue to move the story forward. Maybe a character learns something new from another one. Maybe two characters figure out something together by talking. But they should never be talking about the weather or something that's going to put your reader to sleep.

My other issue is info dumping. There are quite a few times where my characters have to reveal something to one another. One character in particular has a secret that he first confesses in one chapter, and then as the story goes one, gives more and more details regarding this secret and how it came to be. These moments are usually filled with dialogue, and it's hard to work around it. My narrator doesn't know what's going on in the other character's head. So he can only get that information through dialogue. But sometimes I feel like it's still too much.

I guess the way to go about it is to always make sure whatever's being said is important and moves the story forward. If you can find a way to do the same thing with less dialogue or no dialogue at all, then you should probably do it.

Do you think less is more when it comes to dialogue? Or are you a dialogue abuser like me?


  1. Dialogue is such an essential to master. I have always struggled with it I must admit - so I guess I write too little.

  2. I usually start off a scene by writing out the dialogue first, and then go back and layer in other things. I know there are times when I am a unabashed dialogue abuser, but I love it!

    One of my NaNoWriMo projects started off as an exercise in dialogue. I was curious to see if I could write a 50k novel of nothing but dialogue. It did not work. (Shock.)

  3. I enjoy writing dialogue. Those bits come easier to me (even if I edit the hell out of what's being said later or end up cutting it.)

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

  4. I'm the same way. The dialogue is the easiest part for me. I should try writing that first. I like that idea. :)

  5. I am an avid reader. I write a lot too - but articles and columns rather than books. The best dialogue in books sounds totally natural and I'm guessing that is quite hard to do. Good luck with getting your book published - you are certainly a great writer. Around My Kitchen Table

  6. Dialogue done well is wonderful. And dialogue done poorly is, well, painful. I've been guilty of both, I think. I agree that it's tricky to sound natural, progress the story, and not get bogged down in banality.

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

  7. I LOVE the quote you selected ... I heartedly agree (that is my shy, reserved side coming out).

    I don't think I abuse dialogue because I don't do it well. I feel like my characters freeze in time in order to speak; it doesn't sound natural at all. But... I am determined to work on this skill :)

  8. I write poetry - and do you know, I have never written dialogue in it - although I have written poems in the first person. ~Liz http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com

  9. I like writing dialogue too, and have often wondered what it would be like to right a play, which is in effect, all dialogue.

  10. I hate the info dumping use of dialogue and the pages of dialogue where I can't keep track of who is speaking. This is a line between too much and too little. If only there was a way to know where that line is.
    Susan Says

  11. There have been times I have had a hard time getting a scene and just ended up with dialogue between characters, but when I went back I was able to shape the scene better. So I use dialogue sometimes to form a scene giving trouble and then redo. Great post.
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

  12. My opinion is that dialogue doesn't always have to be pointing to the plot; sometimes it can point to what the setting is, or what the time period is. Lengthy dialogue can still draw me into a story if it's written well.

  13. Though I can't find posts for E & F, and wonder if that means you are dropping out. Always interested in blogs by other writers. Decided to FOLLOW you and see what you are all about. If you have time or interest in historic hotels and inns, come join me and enjoy some arm chair travel.