Do Your Characters Talk too Much? When to Use Indirect Dialogue…

by Anne R. Allen

I’ve been looking over some of my much-rejected early work and discovered my old stories have way too much dialogue. This is something I see in a lot of newbie fiction.

I remember a guy who came into the bookstore where I worked in the mid-1990’s, schlepping a huge carton of copies of his self-published novel.

We agreed to give him a read, but I couldn’t get past chapter six. By then I still had no idea what the novel was about.

Four guys were sitting in various places talking about relationships and politics.

The book was nothing but dialogue. It read like a script that didn’t even have stage directions.

His characters needed to shut up already and get on with the story. If there was one.

So did mine.

And yet, in all the standard how-to-write books, we’re urged to write: “More scenes! More dialogue!”

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