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How much dialogue?

Hi all. How much dialogue is too much? Or is there no such thing as too much? The story I am currently writing is going to involve a lot of dialogue between two friends, but I don't want to go 'overboard' with the amount of talking. I won't write paragraphs of dialogue but there will be a substantial amount. Thanks

Asked by: ELSIE BYRON

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  2. ELSIE BYRON on December 6, 2018

    Thanks Adrian I'll jot the title down and look out for the novel it sounds interesting. I think my problem is I love writing dialogue but I'll have to reign myself in a little. Maybe I would be better placed writing scripts. Thanks again.

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  3. Adrian Sroka on December 5, 2018

    Elsie its hard to get the balance right between 'Show' and 'Tell'. Dialogue is an action - 'Show'.

    Narration can be 'Show' and 'Tell'. But the best example I have seen of 'Tell' is Jack London's short story - To Build A Fire. A powerful, skilfully written and vividly descriptive tale about a man's fight for survival in the Yukon in winter. There is not one word of dialogue. Worth a read to learn how, London brings the Yukon to life.

    I hope that helps.

    Good luck.

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  4. ELSIE BYRON on December 5, 2018

    Thank you Adrian and Victoria for your input. The dialogue will be needed but I will try and keep it to the minimum. Where I have included conversation in the story up to now it does work, but there will be lots of narrative also. I wasn't sure how far to go with the dialogue but I see the general drift is probably less is more. Thanks again.

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  5. Adrian Sroka on December 5, 2018

    I agree with Victoria's comments about speech tags/reporting clauses. But in one-to-one conversations it soon becomes obvious who is talking and you can lose the speech tags/reporting clauses.


    It's easier to only have scenes with two characters speaking. It is also advisable to restrict your characters to a maximum of 3 sentences of dialogue, one or two is better - unless it is necessary for character to make a speech or lengthy explanation.

    I hope that helps.

    Good luck.

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