What is a good ratio of description/action to talking?

Asked by: Kevin Johnston

Is there a good balance between dialogue and description?

Because dialogue adds white space, shooting for a roughly equal balance between dialogue and description is a good goal for most stories.

What percent of a story should be dialogue?

Some non-genre novels have higher proportions: The Great Gatsby has 51.32%; Martin Eden has 50.58%.



Proportion of dialogue in novels.

Novel The secret adversary
Date 1922
Total chars 425692
Quote chars 228143
Percent 53.59%

Can a book have too much action?

Too much action can be as much of a hindrance to a scene as too little. A scene that focuses only on action—at the expense of the more nuanced elements of characterization and emotion—is bound to bore, no matter how grand or spectacular the events.

Is there such thing as too much dialogue?

Too much dialogue can be condescending to the audience. It offers up the opportunity to explain things too much, and run the risk of telling over showing. If your character doesn’t need to speak, there’s really no point in giving them any dialogue.

How do you balance dialogue?


Use description description immerses your reader in your story. So the ideal times to read it are in scenes and moments you want your reader to experience.

How much dialogue can a novel have?

While there is no hard and fast rule here, a general rule of thumb is (and this can vary by genre and story): anything more than six exchanges of dialogue in a row without any break risks losing the reader.

How much dialog is too much?

~ Characters talk too much about the past at the expense of current action and events. If your characters spend their time going over back story or telling one another what they already know (you know, Bob), then you’ve probably got too much dialogue.

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Can a novel be dialogue heavy?

If you’re sure that’s not what’s going on, then there’s nothing wrong with a novel being dialogue heavy. Famous examples have already been named. Character driven novels with lots of verbal interaction between characters sound good to me.

Should short stories have a lot of dialogue?

You should rarely ignore a rule just as a gimmick. In this case, while it is common to have dialog in a story, there is no rule that you must. If the story works better without dialog, there’s no reason to cram dialog into it just to conform to some idea of what “most stories” look like.

How do you not write Cringey dialogue?

Cheesy dialogue is one-hundred-percent avoidable. Get in the habit of writing for pace. Include fragments. Read your dialogue out loud.



Contractions make speech natural and help dialogue flow.

  1. Name Calling. …
  2. Improper Punctuation. …
  3. Speaking of Tags. …
  4. Who Said What?


How do you make dialogue not boring?

Top Tips for Better Dialogue

  1. Keep it brief. Dialogue shouldn’t go over for pages and pages. …
  2. Avoid small talk. Oh, this one is music to my introvert ears. …
  3. Don’t info dump. …
  4. Give your characters a unique way of speaking. …
  5. Be consistent. …
  6. Create suspense. …
  7. Honor the relationship. …
  8. Show, don’t tell.

How do you cut down dialogue?

Mini Lesson: Punctuating Interrupted Dialogue

  1. Use a speech verb with a modifier. …
  2. Use an em dash inside the quotation marks to cut off the character mid-dialogue, usually with either (A) another character speaking or (B) an external action.
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How do you write an action in dialogue?

Writing movement and action in dialogue: 6 tips

  1. Use background action to add tone and mood.
  2. Add movement to dialogue to keep the story moving.
  3. Use mid-dialogue actions for tense interruption.
  4. Reveal character relationships through movement and action.
  5. Add dramatic emphasis to characters’ emotions in a scene.

How do you write dialogue rules?

How to Format Dialogue in a Story

  1. Use Quotation Marks to Indicate Spoken Word. …
  2. Dialogue Tags Stay Outside the Quotation Marks. …
  3. Use a Separate Sentence for Actions That Happen Before or After the Dialogue. …
  4. Use Single Quotes When Quoting Something Within the Dialogue. …
  5. Use a New Paragraph to Indicate a New Speaker.

What are some examples of dialogue?

Here are some examples of writing questions in dialogue:

  • “Will you ever stop being a child?” she asked.
  • “What about that man over there?” he whispered, pointing in a old gentleman’s direction. “Doesn’t he look odd too?”
  • “What’s the big deal, anyway?” she huffed.


What are the features of a good dialogue?

Four key qualities of good dialogue are that it: 1) keeps the story or novel going; 2) reveals the characters; 3) is believable; 4) interests the readers. The first and best source of the dialogue you write is your own speech. You’ve been practicing dialogue all your life.

What are the 5 purposes of dialogue?

The 5 functions of a dialogue

  • Show a character through their voice.
  • Advance the plot.
  • Provide information about time and place of the narration.
  • Break the monologue of the narrator.
  • Use the flashback to present memories.
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What can I say instead of Said in dialogue?

Here are dialogue words you can use instead of ‘said’, categorised by the kind of emotion or scenario they convey:

  • Anger: Shouted, bellowed, yelled, snapped, cautioned, rebuked.
  • Affection: Consoled, comforted, reassured, admired, soothed.
  • Excitement: …
  • Fear: …
  • Determination: …
  • Happiness: …
  • Sadness: …
  • Conflict:

What is a juicy word?

A Juicy Word is a word that has some real substance to it. Juicy Words are special, more so than your everyday, dried-out variety of words. Everyone has their own ideas about what makes a word juicy, and they vary based on our prior experience and exposure.

What does queried mean?

queried; querying. Definition of query (Entry 2 of 2) transitive verb. 1 : to ask questions of especially with a desire for authoritative information. 2 : to ask questions about especially in order to resolve a doubt.

Can you start a sentence with but?

The short answer is yes; there is nothing grammatically wrong with starting a sentence with a conjunction like but, and, or or.

Do you use comma after or?

conjunction (and, but, or, for, nor, yet, so) that connects two complete sentences (independent clauses). Use a comma after an introductory element (like a dependent clause or a long phrase) to make the sentence easier to read.

What is it called when you use the wrong word in a sentence?

Definition of malapropism



1 : the usually unintentionally humorous misuse or distortion of a word or phrase especially : the use of a word sounding somewhat like the one intended but ludicrously wrong in the context “Jesus healing those leopards” is an example of malapropism. 2 : malaprop.