As I was working on my two large writing projects going on right now, I noticed something. Both of them had gone into heavy dialogue mode. Each has two of the main characters, discussing matters concern the plot, back and forth between each other with maybe a little description thrown in. When this happens (and especially with two different projects at once), it makes me nervous. Now, I’ve read a lot of really good stories that use dialogue expertly; some have been entirely dialogue and nothing else, and I’m always impressed by the author’s ability to weave dialogue so well. However, I’m not entirely sure I’m one of those dialogue writers. I’m always concerned that my dialogue doesn’t sound realistic enough and, especially in the current cases, that it’s building up far too much exposition, both things a writer is always striving to avoid.
Naturally, that got me thinking about what other writers might think about dialogue. Do you try to avoid using it in excess? Or maybe you absolutely love dialogue and use it as much as you can. As reader or writer or both, do you feel that it’s an effective way of moving the plot along, or is revealing details through dialogue a cop out? I’m sure any of these questions could be answered with a typical, “Well, it depends on how you’re using it,” which is true.
Mostly, I’m trying not to worry about it and just let the dialogue flow. That’s what we have editing for. At the beginning of a book, I think slightly epositionary dialogue can be par for the course; I’ll get it over and done with and then onto the main story.