Too much dialogue?

by Dawna
(Davie, FL)

Question: I am currently writing a book where a vampire pursues a woman and the ending will not be a happy loving one. His obsession leads to her demise and I am rereading through for areas I can expand or change to fit my novel better.

My question is:
Is it possible to put too much dialogue in a novel?

Answer: Too much of anything is possible. That's what "too much" means.

What you have to ask yourself is whether the dialogue adds to the story. If you can cut large sections and still have illustrated all your story points - your themes, your conflicts, your plot developments, your main character's inner journey etc. - then you probably have too much dialogue.

On the other hand, if you cut a section of dialogue and the result is that the story feels like something important is missing, then maybe you need to put it back in. (Do this with a copy of your manuscript or file, not the original.)

As a writer, you may have a hard time separating material that is necessary for the story from material you like a lot but actually weakens the story. That's when it helps to have someone you trust read your work and give you an opinion - a critique partner or group, an editor, etc.

Something else you can do is see if you can replace a long conversation with just a few lines of dialogue and still convey the same information, emotion, and character interaction. This is a good exercise to do throughout your manuscript when you are working on a second draft.

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