Posted by Caren Crane May 31 2008, 4:01 am in Caren Crane, dialogue, narrative
by Caren Crane
“Talk, talk, talk, talk, all you do to me is talk, talk.” Okay, not exactly immortal words from the English New Wave band Talk Talk, but they have a point.
In publishing these days, there is a push for more dialogue, less description and introspection. One well-known author I know says if you’re character can think it, s/he can say it. Well, maybe, but why would I want them to? Maybe I’m simply contrary, but I don’t enjoy page after page of dialogue.
I tend to think of loads of dialogue kind of like George did in the Seinfeld episode with the “Yada Yada Yada” girl George dated. George figured out she was leaving out some significant details when she used the phrase “yada yada yada”. But when he probed and she told him all the details she had left out, it was WAY more than he wanted to know. Sometimes I feel that way with dialogue-heavy books. TMI (too much information)!
As a reader, I like breaks. I like characters to reflect on what they think, how they feel and – shocker! – what they might do next. On the other hand, I don’t enjoy endless blocks of exposition with no dialogue, either. I prefer a balance of the two. But I think it’s more than simple preference. It seems to be a function of an author’s voice and what works for them and the stories they tell.
Some authors, like MaryJanice Davidson, have a voice that comes out in dialogue. I would know her voice (or maybe Betsy the Vampire Queen’s from her “Undead” series) anywhere. Her strength is dialogue and she uses plenty of it. Then again, the Undead books are first person narratives, so even when Betsy is thinking about something, the voice is there.
One of my all-time favorite authors, however, is Harlan Coben. Coben’s strength lies in the narrative of his novels. The dialogue is effective, it just isn’t the main thing. Coben’s narrative voice is strong, compelling and distinctive. I love that voice and would recognize it anywhere. Interestingly, these are also first person narratives – but the narrative is the compelling part, rather than the dialogue. Of course, his narrative is some of the funniest stuff around.
Both of these authors are New York Times bestsellers, despite having very different styles of writing. I’m fairly certain Harlan Coben’s editor doesn’t tell him to lose all the narrative and pack in more dialogue. Which leads me to question things I’ve learned in recent years about loading the story with dialogue for dialogue’s sake. Should I worry about making my books more dialogue driven when my strength lies in my narrative voice (as I’ve been told)? The part that loves MaryJanice says “yes”. But the big part, the Harlan Coben fan girl, says, “Heck no, girlfriend!” Maybe I should leave well enough alone and let my narrative speak for itself.
What do you think? Is more dialogue in a book better or does it depend on the author? Are you tired of all the yada, yada, yada in books or do you crave more? Please dish!
Posted by Jeanne Adams May 30 2008, 5:22 am in Dark and Dangerous, debut, Jeanne Adams, Launch
by Jeanne Adams It’s time for a LAUNCH PARTY!!! Everybody grab your hats and streamers. The countdown to Sunday, June 1, begins….five, four, three, two, ONE! BLAST OFFFFFFFFF! My first, debut novel, Dark and Dangerous, has reached bookstore shelves – it’s been sighted in Kentucky already! – and will be out everywhere, June 1, 2008. Of course, like any office party, I have to give the obigatory speech. Tap the water glasses with a knife so everyone quiets down. Get the microphone. Okay. Here is is. Party Speech. You know, its the one that begins with: “Wow. It’s been a
Posted by Susan Sey May 29 2008, 4:02 am in Age, Five Things, Susan Seyfarth
by Susan Seyfarth It has recently come to my attention that I am no longer a spring chicken. This should not have been a shock to me. I said goodbye to my twenties some time ago. I’ve always known that at some point I would have to go blond & stop using the word ‘dude’ lest I embarrass the children. And yet age blindsided me all the same. So what happened? Where did all those years between Young & Not Young go? When did aging get so…abrupt? Wasn’t it just yesterday that waiters were requesting ID whenever I ordered anything
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell May 28 2008, 4:01 am in Princess Di, Suzanne Welsh, weddings
by Suzanne Welsh We’re having a wedding in our family this month. My youngest and only son. Eric, is getting married in three days time. We love his fiance and she already feels like a part of the family. While I loved helping my daughter and son-in-law plan their wedding, and she wasn’t any kind of bridzilla, I’ve decided being the mother of the groom truly rocks!! Way less stressful. This is a picture of me and my hubby on the day of our wedding. Good lord, we looked so young! I’d already been a nurse for two years and
Posted by Anna Sugden May 28 2008, 3:53 am in Anna Sugden, Bandita Booty, Terri Brisbin
by Anna Sugden Thank you all for making Terri’s visit to the Lair so much fun. Sadly, there wasn’t room in Terri’s case to take all you eager travelling companions. But, she was so impressed by all your reasons, bribes and general grovelling that she is giving away some extra goodies. First, the winner of the big prize pack is …Peggy!Congratulations! Honourable mentions – and a small goody – go to:Gillian LayneHelenPJDogladyGannon Carrand Deb Marlowe (for a valiant effort which incorprated the magic words ‘Gerard Butler’!) Please send your snail mail address to Terri at Terribrisbin dot com.
Posted by Donna MacMeans May 27 2008, 2:48 am in Donna MacMeans, high school
by Donna MacMeans This weekend I went back to high school — well, not MY high school. My husband and I drove to Cleveland to see my nephew’s graduation. He attended Twinsburg High School which is located in the town famous for their twins days festival. Out of his graduating class of 318, we counted 16 sets of possible twins. I’m not sure one can attend that high school without the sense that you’re always seeing double. No where is the sense of accomplishment and optimism for the future stronger than at a high school graduation. The intensity practically sizzled.
Posted by Nancy Northcott May 26 2008, 4:10 am in Memorial Day, U. S. Armed Forces, Veterans
by Nancy The title of this blog means “for my country” in Latin. I chose it because today is Memorial Day in the United States, a holiday for most of its people. Amid the sales and cookouts and vacation trips, the true reason for the day often receives comparatively little attention. This is the day to honor those who’ve served our country, some of them by sacrificing their lives. For men and women in the uniforms of their respective nations around the world, today is not a holiday. As the daughter of two veterans, both of them gone now, I
Posted by Trish Milburn May 26 2008, 2:59 am in anniversary, contest winner
We’re at the end of Week 3 of our month-long anniversary celebration, so you know what that means. Prizes! Our first big prize consists of a $15 gift card to Borders and Godiva chocolates donated by Suzanne Welsh; a Romance Bandits bear donated by Anna Sugden; and signed copies of Double Dare and Does She Dare donated by Tawny Weber. And the winner is… Helen! The weekly giveaway of a critique of a first chapter (not to exceed 30, double-spaced pages) courtesy of Trish Milburn (also includes a mug that says “Caution: Writer at Work”) goes to… authorness! E-mail me
Posted by Kate Carlisle May 25 2008, 4:05 am in Kate Carlisle
By Kate One question all writers seem to dread is … Where do you get your ideas? I can hear the groans now, along with some smart-alecky answer that might go something like this … – If I told you where I get my ideas, I’d have to kill you. – I pluck them off the Idea Tree. – Do you think I’m going to tell you where I get my ideas so you can go steal them? – I pick up my ideas at Wal-Mart in the plastic receptacles aisle, bottom shelf on the right. And so on. And
Posted by Guest May 24 2008, 12:15 am in Uncategorized
by KJ Howe Are you ready to get answers to pressing questions about marketing novels? We’re fortunate today to have guest blogger Kimber Chin, the mistress of marketing, a fabulous writer who was invaluable in my quest for the American Title last year. She’s here today to share a few secrets and answer your burning questions about the business of marketing fiction. Welcome Kimber!!! When KJ Howe asked if I would like to talk about marketing on Romance Bandits, my first impulse was “Oh my good lord, what am I going to share with the Banditas about book marketing?” Breach