Dialogue Heavy: Is That a Problem?

Is a dialogue heavy novel a problem? For me, the answer has always been- no. I enjoy dialogue if it’s well written, and I equally enjoy writing dialogue. I get to know my characters from their spoken exchanges; their favourite cuss words, slang terms, and their use of body language in the dialogue tags. I thoroughly enjoy creating their tone and use of vocabulary.

I think it is a reflection of your writing style, and the kind of writer you are. If dialogue is your strong point, then you may tend to veer on the heavy dialogue side, or vice versa. I don’t agree with blathering dialogue that offers nothing to the narrative, but well written, purposeful dialogue can not be a bad thing, right?

Let me know your opinions, as this topic has been the root of many a self-doubt episode during my writing journey. Dialogue heavy novels- yay or nay?

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11 thoughts on “Dialogue Heavy: Is That a Problem?

    1. My writing has been influenced too! I think heavy dialogue is prominent in the new gen of writing. I’m not taking away from the classics, it’s just the natural progression with the various influences around us ie movies.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I talk a lot.

    My characters talk a lot.

    It’s typically a strong aspect of my books, and I like witty banter, so it’s featured – as a result, my regular readers expect or and/or like it, too. But not every story needs it.

    Ones that do dialog well are a treat to read, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I talk a lot too, and one of my favourite aspects of writing is dialogue. I write YA, SciFi, urban fantasies and feel that YA novels tend to be dialogue heavy in general, so I have that to my advantage.

      I’ve heard it called lazy writing before, but I don’t agree. Giving your characters a voice is one of the hardest jobs for a writer, and I agree, well written dialogue is a refreshing read.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Like Claire, movies have been a big influence on me. I think I’ve told you before that the way I gather material for writing a novel is by visualizing the trailer for the movie of the book. I do the same thing for scenes. I visualize what the scene would look like in a movie, and that, sometimes, can get me into a dialogue heavy scene. But like you said, as long as the dialogue is meaningful, it’s okay. And hey, there’s nothing like a good argument, right? A scene that lets your characters just go off and show more of themselves than they’re willing to consciously show. That’s outward conflict (the argument) and maybe internal conflict concerning regrets for things said.

    Also, if you’re writing from a first-person perspective, like I am, there are times when you must have a lot of dialogue, such as when the protagonist is obtaining information. If your protagonist doesn’t know something and someone else has to tell her, then of course that information is going to come in the form of dialogue and can be extensive depending on how much information needs to be passed on. Of course, if I feel like there’s too much information to swallow in one gulp, I’ll break it up somehow into smaller doses.

    But this can be a good thing. If you have more than one character who is being fed information by another character through dialogue, then you can get to know each character better through the questions they ask and what does and doesn’t confuse them. You can get to know what’s important to them and get maybe more than a hint of their values. And if one of them goes off on a different tangent in some way, that can tell you something about them too while allowing you to break up a lot of information into said smaller doses.

    Writing is communication, and communication is passing along information. Dialogue is simply one way to pass along information (to the audience) in a story. So a story that’s dialogue heavy isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s just the way the writer has decided is the best way, for the story, whether first-person or third-person, to pass along information.

    On a personal note, whenever I read a book that has long stretches of no dialogue, that just has the narrator explaining everything, I get a little jittery. You know, it’s like when you’re sitting next to two people talking and only one of those people is doing the talking. You just want to say, “Excuse me, can you please allow the other person to talk for a change?” Hearing only one voice for a long stretch of time kind of gets annoying to me. I like to hear different voices. So having a lot of dialogue, for me, helps to avoid that single-voice annoyance. But that’s just my preference, likely stemming from that movie influence.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I totally agree with you as I write in first person, present tense and scenes naturally become dialogue heavy when the main character needs to obtain information.

      If I start questioning the amount of dialogue in a chapter, I do normally have to curb it slightly, but I’m relieved to know that others enjoy reading and writing dialogue heavy stories.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It really is! I’m glad I posted this now 😉 I’m about to embark on a writing session, and feel much more confident heading into a dialogue heavy (informative) chapter! Thanks for your comments, they have really helped!!! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  3. This post is reassuring, as my writing is dialog-heavy. To me, it is a natural way get to know the characters and to provide important info without lengthy explanations. It also helps to move the story along. I’ve had a few bibliophiles tell me they skim through all the flowery language so many writers deem important, maybe to demonstrate their creativity. Inner thoughts and descriptions have their place, but dialog is the ultimate example of “show, don’t tell.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was incredibly reassured after receiving feedback on this post. I’m glad to know that many authors have the same dialogue heavy style as me. I definitely think it’s a new gen of writing style influenced by movies and popular culture. Thanks for your comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on and commented:

    My second reblog of the week covers something that is still a source of self doubt for me- dialogue heavy novels. Have a gander and let me know what you think on the topic.

    Happy reading.

    Like

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