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November 3rd, 2002, 12:53 AM
i know both are important in a story but what would you prefer?

November 3rd, 2002, 02:07 AM
Originally posted by bir
i know both are important in a story but what would you prefer?

Prefer: dialogue.

I suppose it is due to having the words "show don't tell" drummed into me, with regards to my own writing.

Narration has it's part, but it tends to get boring and leds to the reader nodding off.

Reading what the character's are saying, working their own and your way through the story is far more interesting.

Saying that, if the piece is in the first person you do tend to get more narration as you are seeing it through the one person's eyes. The trick there is not to allow it to become boring.

November 3rd, 2002, 02:23 AM
A small narration at the start of a chapter sets the mood for that to follow, but Information is always best presented through your characters, as you can give your story more 'feel' or emotion.

November 3rd, 2002, 02:34 AM
The novels I read and the stories I write tend to have more narrative than dialogue. I think this can be better than reading a load of dialogue if the narrative is written well and contains interesting information.

November 3rd, 2002, 03:49 AM
Depends on the story. But, if you mean, writing dialogue as a narration, then I'd say write it as dialogue! Some exceptions in the 1st Person, as Holdbrook said.
But remember that it's sometimes better to use narration than dialogue to tell somethings. Avoid as hell the dreaded "As you know, dear friend..." dialogue. It, usually, doesn't sound real.

November 3rd, 2002, 03:11 PM
I'll toss in two cents here...

I have to agree with the majority on this one. While both narration and dialogue have their place in fiction, I prefer dialogue... but even with that, dialogue functions best when coupled with actions, internalization, that sort of thing. Have your characters doing something while they're talking.

Narration can tend to be a bit dry, but it's good for, as mentioned, first-person -- where your characters have to talk to the reader, or your narrator is just as much of a character as any others in the story... something like that. Look at Moby Dick... wouldn't work with the opening line of "Hi, I'm Ishmael."


R. Barnes

November 3rd, 2002, 04:01 PM
ahh, good question! But I can't answer it just by saying one or the other. Each has it's own place in the story, I agree with everyone.
When it comes to narration, I find it boring. But there is no other way of describing a place, or an action. And you can't put into words what a certain feeling does.
So I can not say which is better, because a good narration can be just as good as a lengthy speech.
Except in the first person, when of course you are going to say whatever you write. But the rules change in this case, and a dialogue becomes not something someone says but an interaction between two people.
So I say speak it, show it, but make it good.

November 4th, 2002, 03:25 AM
I prefer dialogue when possible and I think a good writer can inform the reader of necessary details without having to info-dump a narrative on them.
I usually work the info into conversations when there are multiple characters and use narration only in first person thought processes.

Aik Haw
November 4th, 2002, 04:32 AM
Dialogue and narration, that really depends.

Some scenes, if you want them to move REALLY quick, goes best with narration.

( Kahnovitch brushes past a small gathering of dust coated pilgrims, upsetting a small dish in the process. Muttering an apology, he continued down the road, his eyes focused on the ever expanding arch).

If however, you want Kahnovitch to talk to the pilgrim, you should use dialogue:-

"Barbarian, look what have you just done!!" a deep voice roared.
Kahnovitch stopped midstride. "Yes pilgrim," he replied, without looking backwards.
"This plate, this holy plate, artifact from the great Holbrook Empire. You barbarian, tilted holy artifact so that it touches common ground!!" the pilgrim said.
Interesting, Kahnovitch thought as he arched his tone, "So?"
"By God, you have not even taken a look....." the pilgrim halted midsentence as Kahnovitch spun around and stamped his foot on the silver dish.

November 4th, 2002, 05:59 AM
Nice example Aik, BTW have you been following me around?