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Dialog-only first?

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I recently heard, from a person who is in a critique group at the time I was  a member, that her method of writing is: dialogue first. I gather she means, for example, that she will write a chapter with nothing but dialogue.  After that, she will fill in descriptions, settings, etc.   Has anyone else done this? I am trying it out.  It feels kind of strange, but not as hard to work out as I had thought it would be.

Leslie
#1 - August 13, 2013, 02:08 PM

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Interesting! I don't intentionally do this, but I always wind up focusing on one or two aspects of a scene the first time I write it. So if it has a strong sense of place, it might be really description-heavy in that area but super-sparse on other things like describing action and dialogue. Or a different scene might start out almost nothing but dialogue and then I have to go back and fill stuff in. I never thought of it as a beneficial thing though - I just look back and say, "oh no, look what I did again!" :) How is it supposed to help?
#2 - August 13, 2013, 03:21 PM

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I've never heard of that. I think the amount of dialogue depends on the type of book you are writing. I do know that dialogue will speed up the pace of your novel. So if you feel as if it's getting bogged down in description, dialogue can help with that.
#3 - August 13, 2013, 04:34 PM
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My first drafts tend to be dialog-heavy, but not intentionally. I think it is because I used to write plays. I agree with Christy that dialog keeps the pace moving. But during revisions I don't necessarily stick to all the dialog.

As far as trying it as an exercise, I think experimenting and trying things out is the best possible way to improve your manuscript.
#4 - August 13, 2013, 04:41 PM

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To L writes - I think maybe it is supposed to help as far as pacing, and moving the story along, is concerned.   I do agree that, above all, one has to see what works for each writer's particular story, and particular style. That is why I decided to try this out. I am not sure yet whether I will continue it or not.
#5 - August 13, 2013, 05:05 PM

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Ugh...I could never do that but hey! Writing is very specific to each person. It might help one to get to know the characters, but for me, it would be tedious to go back.
#6 - August 13, 2013, 09:02 PM
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http://wwwpamcalvert.blogspot.com/p/picture-book-university.html

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Pam, I tend to agree with you!
#7 - August 14, 2013, 07:06 AM

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Oh, I see. Maybe that's why I unconsciously do it sometimes. But never ONLY dialogue. You'd need at least a few "stage directions" or something here and there unless you want to wind up with a lot of "Look, Bob! We are crossing a large field with a tree in the middle!" and "I'm halfway up the tree and I have paused to look at something!"
#8 - August 14, 2013, 07:31 AM

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My first drafts of novels are written quickly and consist of mostly dialogue. Like maybe 90 percent dialogue. I don't consciously do this; it just turns out that way. Then I fill in the internal thought, stage directions, etc. Everyone has his or her own method. That's mine.
#9 - August 14, 2013, 10:04 AM
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