Balancing Dialogue & Narrative


Some useful tips when writing or rewriting your work:

So, how do I find a balance between dialogue and narrative? After reading Bransford, Fitch, and McCarver, I found three different techniques:

  • From McCarver’s article: Find a particularly long narrative section and see how it might be broken up into more of a scene with dialogue.

  • After reading Fitch’s post: Find a section in the story where the characters have a whole conversation, and then cross out the dialogue that is commonplace. Because, as Fitch says, “A line anybody could say is a line nobody should say.”

  • From Bransford’s post: If the dialogue does carry the story forward but still feels “thin,” look for places to add gestures, facial expressions, and/or any details from the scene that enhance that section. Bransford says, “gesture and action [are] not [used] to simply break up the dialogue for pacing purposes, but to actually make it meaningful….”

I’m guilty of the second one. Trying to break up the yak yak now with advice from the third point. View the full article and all of its useful links here:



8 thoughts on “Balancing Dialogue & Narrative

  1. Me too on the second one. Great advice, thanks for sharing that!

  2. Reblogged this on lindaghill and commented:
    Great advice for writers.

  3. Thanks! That was helpful.

  4. Hello 😀 This is good advice, something I needed to hear: “cross out the dialogue that is commonplace”, I am definitely going to keep an eye out for that from now on cuz I tend to use lots of common place dialogue that is probably unneccessary

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