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Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com • Are you description or dialogue dominant? : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com
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Are you description or dialogue dominant?

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:46 am
by Brien Sz
Just curious... As I work through a rewrite, I notice that I tend to be more dialogue centric in my writing. I keep description minimal and try to fill in other descriptive elements through conversation where appropriate. Was just wondering how others are wired to write in this area?

Re: Are you description or dialogue dominant?

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:14 am
by TerryRodgers
Dialog for me, although I'm working on getting more narrative sprinkled throughout.

Re: Are you description or dialogue dominant?

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:06 am
by James A. Ritchie
I like to think I have the right amount of both, which changes from story to story.

I do know a lot of my stories sell because I write description well enough to impress editors. I don't think about writing minimal description. I hate that approach because it tends to be limiting. I use as much description as it takes to bring a scene, and especially a setting, to full, vibrant life. If that's a couple of sentences, fine. It's it's three pages, this is also fine.

I feel the same way about dialogue. When characters have something to say that's worth saying, I let them say it, however much they run on. When a character has nothing to say, I let him be silent.

Narration has a lot more to it than description, of course, and this probably makes for the bulk of most of my stories.

Anyway, I don't think I'm "wired" to write in any given way. I write the way I think works best for the particular story I'm working on at the moment. Some are description heavy, some are narration heavy, some are almost pure dialogue, and some are almost all characterization.

But if I have to be heavy anywhere, if I have to elan one way, I'd choose description heavy, and characterization heavy because I'm found this is what sells story. I do believe good dialogue is important, but I also believe nothing bores readers faster than too much talking.

Re: Are you description or dialogue dominant?

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:11 am
by pls
Because of what I write - YA - I'm more dialogue dominant.

Re: Are you description or dialogue dominant?

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:59 pm
by updog
Not sure if you're asking about narrative or description, but if you mean description as in actually describing clothing, furniture, and the rest of the setting in loving detail, I'm not sure I'm any good at that. Dialogue comes more naturally to me than description, mostly because it's hard for me to know if I'm showing what I want to show. I can't unsee what's already in my head and look at it from a reader's perspective, so I'm never sure I'm pulling it off. I have received compliments from editors on my "imagery" though, so I guess I'm doing okay. But it'd be hard to determine whether I use *more* dialogue or description. I work very hard to use just the right amount of both.

Re: Are you description or dialogue dominant?

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:26 pm
by Brien Sz
I was asking more towards describing... Personally, filling out a whole long paragraph or three about the exterior of a house bores me to no end. Same in certain fantasy novels where the author feels compelled to describe the entire forest. Better to do it in bits and pieces - let the characters touch upon it a little. Just a style preference for me. I know people who want the entire room painted for them, the type of doily and pattern that covers the old rich mahogany table with its Chippendale legs, still sharp along its edges as if just off the carpenter's bench, blah, blah, blah.

Re: Are you description or dialogue dominant?

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:17 pm
by Crono91
I'm write much more dialogue.

I personally feel I write enough descriptions; it's hard to tell. Some people say I should add more descriptions, some say I should reduce my descriptions, so I don't really know where I stand on the reader side. But as a writer, I always feel as if I need to go back during edit mode and add descriptions. Because I write action/adventure, my descriptions tend to be more "action" oriented. How a character moves, or how a set piece is cracking, and so on. Rather than stationary descriptions that add to the environment.

I say what I believe is the most important part of the environment, and let the readers fill in the gaps with their own imagination. I had a city on a mountain top, and I showed the roads, and lack of vegetation, and cleanness, and some prestige ornaments, because it relates to the mood of the people in the city. But other than that, I didn't show much.

I also need to work on narration some. While it is first person, the reader usually gets a feel for what my main character is thinking via his dialogue and physical reactions. Not that it's solely that, but it could use some extra introspection.

Re: Are you description or dialogue dominant?

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:52 pm
by DrG2
Is action included in description?

I tend to have a lot of dialogue, but I usually have a bit of description to set the scene, and I can go ten+ pages describing an epic battle.

Re: Are you description or dialogue dominant?

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:31 am
by Crono91

Re: Are you description or dialogue dominant?

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 4:31 pm
by James A. Ritchie