I recently read a few books with very little dialogue, and it has me thinking about this writing style. I made some interesting observations about myself in the way that I reacted to pages and pages of narration, and very little dialogue in a story.
I notice that I have trouble concentrating on stories with pages and pages of third person narration. My mind wanders and I become easily bored when dialogue doesn’t exist. I feel myself getting impatient as I read and I tend to skip ahead.
Dialogue contributes to telling the story. Dialogue sets a tone and can be used to heighten tension, suspense, or a funny moment. When it’s lacking, I notice it.
Dialogue is used for many reasons. The reader can learn more about the setting of a story as characters talk to each other. The plot can be enhanced through character interactions. Also, the reader gets insights into the characters: what kind of person they are, their motivations, what they choose to reveal, and how/why they are involved in the story. They hear it firsthand.
This writing style makes me realize that character dialogue is important to me. I feel that it shows the character’s personality rather than being told about it. Dialogue enables readers to connect directly with characters. It has me experiencing what’s happening to the character and keeps me engaged, compared to pages of narrative that make it challenging to keep my attention.
Have you ever noticed when books have tons of narrative and very little dialogue? Do you think that it affects the story when dialogue is lacking? I’d love to hear from you!