Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Keep the action rolling

Dialogue can be key for a novelist, especially in today's writing field. In years past, especially pre-20th century, a writer could get away with page after page of exposition and historical facts and other so-called interesting stuff.

Not today. Today, novelists need to work almost like screenwriters. Action and dialogue, those are most important.

Now, I'm talking about writing popular novels, not so much literary works. I'll leave the pondering on that type of writing to college professors.

But writers of the modern novel, those seeking a decent-sized audience, can't afford to meander around with much exposition and writing about feelings and the like. A few authors can get away with this, but most of those will have been around for years.

No, we have to write tight. That's where action and dialogue come in. Both must move the story forward, must continue the plot, much like a movie or one of the old movie serial features like Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers.

Movement is the key, movement literally and movement in dialogue.

That doesn't mean every book has to be filled with nothing but fight scenes and people yacking, but it does mean the story must continue to flow. The DaVinci Code doesn't have a lot of fighting in it, but it does keep up a pretty good pace.

Just my opinion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am learning that. And I'm a guy who - while I love reading and writing the action, the dialogue, the movement - also wants to know (again, both in my reading and my writing) more about my characters, their environments, and the world they're doing that movement in.

I apparently am trying too hard to build upon my characters' overtly and overly present underlying motivations and such when I write. Either that or my attempts at creating pathos are too feeble ;)