Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Balance Your Narration And Dialogue

Finding balance in your life is a good thing. Finding balance in your writing is even better. And yet, for so many authors, finding the right balance between narration and dialogue can be tough. Both are truly essential to stories and have a place in the story, and yet, if an author uses one too much, it can have a huge effect on the story.

Narration is one of those pieces that tend to be used too much in far too many stories. Authors feel the need to add the back story and add the world building. Yes, we need to know this information, but when an author overloads the reader with too much, the story simply slows down. It becomes far too much for a reader to remember.

Dialogue, on the other hand, certainly gets the reader more directly involved with the story, and yet, if we are missing the narration, we lose the context of the story. We have nothing to attach it to.

Determining how much we need of both is pretty basic. As you get ready to add that element, stop and ask if it is truly necessary at that point in the time. This is especially true with narration. Back story and world building is always on a "need to know basis." I am reading a story right now where the author, wanted the reader to see a correlation to what was happening now and what happened to a historical figure in the past. In this case, just a reference to that event would have been fine. Instead, with this author, she went for pages giving us the full run-down of the actual event. Too much.

When it comes to dialogue, you can take the same approach. Ask yourself if the dialogue is really adding something to the story, or if you are using it to fill space. For a lot of authors, I see authors use dialogues just to pass the time to get the characters from one place to another. In this case, a single sentence to say that they had talked for hours would have been fine.

As always, I just recommend to think when you write. Stop and ask yourself how this would sound to someone reading it for the first time.

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