Author Topic: Has anyone read a book that is like 90% dialogue?  (Read 2279 times)  

Offline m123xyz

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Re: Has anyone read a book that is like 90% dialogue?
« Reply #25 on: September 10, 2018, 08:29:25 am »
tarantino scripts :) (which I hear often start out longer than most books!)

tons of dialogue peppered w crazy action... and 1 way too long insane action sequence that makes everyone squeal.

I've heard a lot of teachers say dialogue is sort of lazy because most people can rant easier than they can describe. But have also seen tons of description so dense my eyes glaze over. Who knows. But it's freaking rough writing anything good so go with your own flow. Good luck!
« Last Edit: September 10, 2018, 08:32:13 am by m123xyz »


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    Offline Aloha

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    Re: Has anyone read a book that is like 90% dialogue?
    « Reply #26 on: September 10, 2018, 09:43:03 am »
    Try as I might, I haven't been able to break my habit of writing mainly dialogue in my book. Maybe there is someone out there that has been successful with writing an almost purely dialogue driven book?
    I know I'm grasping for straws but a girl can dream right.
    My first books were mostly dialog. Reading them now is like walking through a crowded room where everyone is talking all at once until your ears begin to ache and your head starts to throb.

    I have read other books in which the hero is holding a gun on the villain and the reader is left wondering will he (the hero) shoot him? Huh? Huh? Huh?

    Meanwhile, the villain launches into loooooooooooooooooonggggggggggggggggggg stretches of dialog (about 200 words for every one word from the hero) justifying why he and others like him did what they did. Sure, you get to understand a little more about the evil nature of the villain, but do people who might be about to die really preach such long sermons of self righteousness?

    Then there are other stories in which the characters' dialog reveals the blueprints/schematics/capabilities/flaws/advantages of every piece of technology, large and small, on about every third page.  Eventually, I am transported back to listening to teachers who loved speaking in vocabularies that only maybe 10% of the class understood and start to nod off or just close the book, never to reopen it.

    Worst of all are the characters who use 350 words to say what could be said in 25 or less to describe why they are doing what to who -- when, where, how and why.

    Maybe I've been spoiled by those rare authors whose use of dialog is rarely, if ever, superfluous or boring. 

    I don't write all of this to discourage your use of dialog. But please have mercy on your readers. If you can keep it interesting, your stories will sell.

    Offline RRodriguez

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    Re: Has anyone read a book that is like 90% dialogue?
    « Reply #27 on: September 10, 2018, 10:03:18 am »
    I enjoy writing dialogue, it's fun and, for the most part, easy. That being said, I make sure to level out out with other stuff too, and I think if I opened a book to find it was 90% dialogue, I'd immediately close it back shut again. That would drive me absolutely insane to read.  People say too much description is boring, but I'd argue too much dialogue is just as dull in it's own way.


    Offline WHDean

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    Re: Has anyone read a book that is like 90% dialogue?
    « Reply #28 on: September 10, 2018, 10:54:55 am »
    Elmore Leonard's books are mostly dialogue. He's done all right. But then he wrote good dialogue.


     

    Offline AmelieCLanglois

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    Re: Has anyone read a book that is like 90% dialogue?
    « Reply #29 on: September 10, 2018, 12:13:19 pm »
    Requiem for a Dream basically reads like this.

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    Offline erikhanberg

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    Re: Has anyone read a book that is like 90% dialogue?
    « Reply #30 on: September 10, 2018, 02:45:20 pm »
    Eternal Curse on the Reader of These Pages is *only* dialogue, followed by a few documents at the end.

    I read it because I liked the title (still not cursed!) not knowing it would be that way. I liked it!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_Curse_on_the_Reader_of_These_Pages

    Offline Anarchist

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    Re: Has anyone read a book that is like 90% dialogue?
    « Reply #31 on: September 10, 2018, 02:51:19 pm »
    Elmore Leonard's books are mostly dialogue. He's done all right. But then he wrote good dialogue.

    I was just thinking of Leonard. And yeah, the man had talent when it came to dialogue.

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    Offline StephenBrennan

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    Re: Has anyone read a book that is like 90% dialogue?
    « Reply #32 on: September 10, 2018, 08:10:00 pm »
    Stephen glanced at the movie "Christine" playing on the TV as he considered the OP's question. Try as he might, he couldn't think of a novel he'd ever read that was mostly dialogue. Indeed, he didn't know if he could even live in such a world. A world without description. A world without the poetry of thought.

    The cast of "King Of The Hill" entered his mind. Four stoic men drinking beer in an alley, and endlessly uttering the one word that held any meaning for them. "Yep."

    He shuddered.

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    Offline Aloha

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    Re: Has anyone read a book that is like 90% dialogue?
    « Reply #33 on: September 11, 2018, 08:40:30 am »
    Elmore Leonard's books are mostly dialogue. He's done all right. But then he wrote good dialogue.

    I just finished reading Leonard's book Gunsights yesterday.  What amazed me is that I visualized his characters more from the dialog he gave them than from the descriptions of them he wrote.

    Offline Jd488

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    Re: Has anyone read a book that is like 90% dialogue?
    « Reply #34 on: September 11, 2018, 11:58:47 am »
    I thought I was alone with being dialog heavy in my stories. I do some description, enough to give the reader an idea of what something looks like and let them fill in the rest. An editor nailed one of my stories for the lack of a detailed description of everything. I've read enough books to know not everything needs a detailed description.

    This post has been encouraging.

    Offline jb1111

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    Re: Has anyone read a book that is like 90% dialogue?
    « Reply #35 on: September 11, 2018, 02:33:46 pm »
    Where I stand on dialogue overall is that its percentage probably changes from book to book, story to story.

    But having a book with mostly dialogue to me is sort of like switching the video off of a movie and just listening to the people talking.

    You miss out on so much of the story that way.

    At the same time, having little to no dialogue -- you get dull, lifeless characters.

    And then each author has their own style, obviously. Mine isn't dialogue heavy, but there is dialogue all over the story. The way people talk reveals a lot about the character that mere description just won't get across. It's a mix.

    Offline SCapsuto

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    Re: Has anyone read a book that is like 90% dialogue?
    « Reply #36 on: September 11, 2018, 03:17:30 pm »
    If memory serves, Manuel Puig's "Kiss of the Spider Woman" is told entirely through dialogue.
    Steven is a full-time professional translator. His blog, "Between Wanderings," explores Jewish life and culture from the 1850s to 1920s through the words of people who lived then, and he is translating and publishing books from that era on the same topic. Steven is also the author of "Alternate Channels," about the portrayal of lesbian and gay characters on 20th-century American television. "Alternate Channels" was a semifinalist for an American Library Association book award.
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