Separating dialog with narration

01 Jul

I understand the need to set a scene and describe actions well enough for the dialog written to have the proper context. What I do not understand, or agree with, is separating a sentence with narration. Let me give you an example. “I do not think,” He began considering the proper weight he wanted his words to have. “that would be a good idea.”

These separations throw speed bumps into the flow of the words. Not only that, if you throw a long narration in between a sentence, then the end of the sentence can not make sense at all, resulting in the reader going back to the beginning of the paragraph in order to get caught up, then needing to find their place again in order to continue reading.

This narration can be added before or after the dialog, or in between topics in a larger conversation. If a writer is trying to “catch up” their reader, then they have made a mistake previously in their story. If you are writing and suddenly your story goes in a place you hadn’t intended, but is perfect for the story itself, and that creates a vacuum where you need to catch your readers up, go back and add something into what you have already written that will keep the flow of your story steady and well paced. If you can’t add this new bit in, or it’s too long, write a short story and send it out to your mailing list as free bonus content, or publish it on its own.

A writer often times wants to draw their reader into the head space of a character, for good or ill. They want to make sure the reader knows what’s going on in the characters mind as the dialog unfolds. This can be superfluous or essential to a story. A writer might not know which until the editing happens as they’d re in their “creative mind” while writing and will just throw words on the page to get them out of their heads.

This is also why I “let it age”, in regards to my story, before I edit it. This allows my mind to forget about that story and get distracted by another. I’ll blog about that later.

In closing, always think about flow when you are editing. If needs be, read aloud to the extent that you are attempting an audiobook. Does your speech catch? Then so does the readers mind. The smoother flowing a story is the easier a reader slips into the world and the stronger it grips it’s readers. It can be the difference between a “That was a good book” and “Where’s the next book?!”.


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