Miss Snark-- I am currently revising my novel and am feeling a little stuck. I was wondering what your thoughts of dialogue in fiction are. When is it too much? How do I know when I have too many words coming out of my character's mouth and not enough coming out of my own?
I don't want to belabor the story with too much description--I intend for my novel to be a "fun" read for teens. I've looked at the dialogue and taken a great red marker of doom to it--I've cut all dialogue that doesn't directly affect the characters or their situation and I've made sure that the dialogue that is still in the text shows the characters. Even so, I'm tempted to add chunks of description that I'm afraid would be superfluous just so I don't have too much dialogue. Am I being paranoid? (no, obsessive. Paranoid is when you think someone is out to get you)
What is your opinion on this? I know this is more of a writing question than a submitting one, but if anyone knows what kinds of things make a book not work, I figured it would be you.
I tend to like dialogue more than exposition for moving a story along right up until "As you know Bob". AYKB (which comes from the estimable TNH at Making Light, I think) is exposition badly disguised as dialogue. "As you know Miss Snark, a literary agent is someone who represents an author to sell manuscripts to publishers, and they earn 15% commission".
You can disguise it as "holy moly Miss Snark, you're only going to get paid IF you sell this? What kind of socialist enterprise are you running over there at Snark Central anyway??" if you're clever.
I think more authors err on the side of too little good dialogue. It sounds to me like you're heading in that direction. You might invest in a set of fresh eyes with a critique group. Or give it to a kid. That's your target audience. See what s/he says.