In this episode, Leslie and Clark critique the first chapter of Acolyte of Shadow, an as yet unpublished fantasy novel by Daniel Kellberg. They discuss dialogue, descriptive beats, pacing, and backstory.
Editorial Mission—What’s your dialogue doing?
Effective dialogue serves a variety of purposes. You can use it to reveal backstory and other information to the reader (and your characters), but make sure it’s serving other purposes as well. Here are some other things your dialogue might accomplish:
- Reveal character, goals, motivations
- Demonstrate character’s reactions to one another and story events
- Reveal setting, mood, tone
- Increase tension and conflict
- Advance the plot
- Create a change in the scene with revelation or action
- Increases the pace of the storytelling
- Reveal theme
Take a scene in your story that is heavy with dialogue, and check each line against this list. Does the dialogue do more than reveal information? If it’s being lazy, try revising or cutting it.
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