Dialog vs. Narration

“Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue.”

One of the most common suggestions I get from my critique groups is to switch from narration to dialog or (rarely) vice versa. By letting characters speak, dialog injects emotion, personality, and movement, particularly if the words are in the character’s voice and fall trippingly on the tongue, as Hamlet instructed his players. But direct speech requires more space (and two or more people, unless one is writing internal monologue). Narrative stops the story while the author tells the reader stuff; however, narrative is efficient: a short paragraph of narrative can often get across information that would need several pages of conversation.

At least in most writing, dialog is the “Let’s do this ..” part of the story, and narrative is the “and here’s how it happened and why” part.

Not giving details speeds up the story and creates tension. Unfortunately, one of the thesaurus synonyms for tension is confusion anxiousness, and agitation.  Narrative is the train standing in the station, loading passengers. Dialog is the train moving out of the station toward its destination.

Those of you who have been with me for a while have surely noticed that I have written fewer posts in the recent past. Given pandemic restrictions for nearly two years, there should be more posts, right? I guess, without really analyzing it, I was following form. Pilgrimage was, after all, established to trace my learning cycle as a writer. Insights, at least large ones, have become fewer as I’ve progressed. So posts have become fewer. Sooo … I’m planning to broaden my focus a bit, and post a bit more often. If you have writing topics you’d like to discuss, shoot them to me.

And, as always, thanks for listening.

It’s Been a While

Heavens! It’s been a while. I have the shopworn excuse that I’ve been busy. Releasing Mayfield-Napolitani #2, Skins and Bone is the main issue. Plus rewriting #4 (Fatal Cure) and beginning work on #5 (Working title: Hack Attack).

I’ll be doing an Amazon ‘count-down’ sale on the Skins and Bone ebook starting on October 20 … that means $0.99 on the 20th, with prices rising over the next several days back to $2.99.

Sidebar: Please, if you have read either Fatal Score or Skins and Bone, take a few minutes to write a short, honest review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Denizens of the writing advice community, of which there are many, tell me reviews are critical to success because the black-box algorithm at Amazon prizes them.

If you haven’t read Fatal Score, you can get an ebook free HERE. If you haven’t read Skins and Bone, mark your calendar for October 20th!