So, some folks pointed Laurie Halse Anderson at one of my blogs on Dialogue, pointing out that my advice (seemingly) directly contradicted Laurie’s. I, apparently, was saying, “You should not mix action description with dialogue!” And Laurie was saying, “You MUST mix action description with dialogue!”
This had all the hallmarks of a promising Writin’ Feud, like the kind that killed Pappy Lyga back during the Depression, when F. Scott Fitzgerald and he took to the pistols to settle the issue of the serial comma once and for all. (‘Tis an ugly tale, one I’ll not repeat here for fear of frightening any children who may have stumbled upon the BLog.)
Sadly for those in the cheap seats rooting for a feud (oh, fine — I was one of them…), Laurie and I agree more than we disagree. Her blog entry here points up the similarities in our positions. And for those who think I was saying, “No action in your dialogue! None! Ever!” please go back and READ that entry. You’ll see that all I’m talking about is cutting out useless, deadwood, stuff that slows down your story. Never once did I say that narrative/action has no place at all in dialogue. I just encourage you to find a balance.
Which is what Laurie was doing, too.
Which means that Pappy Lyga’s never-fired dueling derringer (that bastard Fitzgerald fired on “two,” not “three!”) will remain locked in its case.
(To see the comment thread from the old barrylyga.com, click here. If you want to add to the conversation, use the comment form below.)