Posted On September 13, 2013 by Print This Post

DELECTABLE, DEVILISH, DREAMY, DRAT…with Laurie Schnebly Campbell

One of my favorite instructors – as well as one of my favorite people! – is Laurie Schnebly Campbell. I learn something new and amazing in each of her classes AND in each of her posts! Read on…

7680_wpm_lowresRomantic novels lend themselves to D-words, don’t they? Dark and dazzling heroes delighted by daring and delicious heroines, dastardly villains dogged by defeat in difficult and dangerous conflicts…you get the idea.

But then there’s the down-side. Getting all that drama across to the reader requires a lot of darned hard work, both in terms of description and dialogue. And none of us (well, very few of us) are instinctively good at BOTH of those.

16257_wpm_lowresYet we need them both.

Think about the writers you like best. Some are better at dialogue, some at description, and a few stars are fabulous at both. Other celebrated authors are perfectly good — even if not incredibly wonderful — at each of the D’s. But when you think about the people whose books you enjoy most, which names come to mind?

Best Of The Best

Which skill, dialogue or description, do those authors excel at?

It’s pretty rare that everyone on your list of favorites will be better at the same thing, right down the line. Even though I tend to enjoy dialogue more than description, some of the authors I love are amazingly good at description. And I’m always amazed when I hear a writer whose lyrical descriptions practically GLOW mutter, “I wish I were better at scripting dialogue.”

15668_wpm_lowres 15939_wpm_lowres

You probably know YOUR strong suit already. Your reviewers or critique partners or beta readers have commented on how vividly your characters’ conversations come to life, or how clearly they can see the setting where your opening chapter takes place. You might be especially good in that area because it’s a natural gift, or because you’ve worked hard at improving your skill.

Either way, that’s something to celebrate.

Struggling With The D’s

But what if you don’t have a natural gift for dialogue or for description? What if one comes fairly easily and the other leaves you feeling discouraged, disappointed, despondent, deflated, desolate — okay, you get the idea.

The thing is, description and dialogue each require the same basic set of skills. Most of us tend to think we’re stronger in one area and weaker in the other, but in fact they both rely on the exact same fundamentals.

What are those fundamentals?

12532_wpm_lowres* Mood

* Personality

* Feeling

* Information

* Viewpoint

* Sensation


Each one of those contributes to your dialogue as well as to your description. We’re not all equally good at every item on the list, but that doesn’t matter — those individual differences are what give each of us a unique voice.

And speaking of unique voices, that takes us right back to the earlier question about authors we love.

A Question For You…

So now I’m asking for opinions: who’s an author you love, and is that author better at description or dialogue? Or, putting it another way, which of those two writing skills comes to mind first when you think of this person’s books?

16280_wpm_lowres 17430_wpm_lowres

If your favorite writers are equally fabulous at both, that’s lovely for them and their readers, but it doesn’t help our survey much. What I’m looking for here is examples of writers who are particularly good at ONE of the big D’s.

And it’s totally okay if someone says “I love Nora Roberts’ description” and someone else says “I love Nora Roberts’ dialogue” — all that matters is what YOU especially like about her, or some other author’s, writing.

…Plus A Prize

1114_wpm_lowresAnybody who sends an answer goes into the drawing pool for free registration to my October 7-31 class, The Double D’s: Dynamic Description & Delicious Dialogue, which you can read about at (It covers those six fundamentals mentioned above plus a few more, along with tips on both D’s from a variety of successful authors.)

Just send the name of a writer whose work you admire and whether you’re more impressed by their dialogue or description — if you want to give an example, that’s swell but not required. And I’ll look forward to seeing who makes the list!

Laurie, who’d love to discover some new recommendations OR be reminded of old favorites because either way it’ll be a treat!


Don’t forget to answer Laurie’s questions for a chance to win a prize!

Join us on Monday for Editor Tessa Shapcott!


Bio: Laurie Schnebly Campbell loves writing dialogue and hates writing description, but has to admit that books written by other authors — who feel exactly the opposite — are every bit as good as her own. Discovering how “both kinds of writers can build on their strengths in one area to improve the other” led her to collect tips from newly-published and long-established authors on creating fabulous Double D’s, which she’ll share in her October class at

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70 Responses to “DELECTABLE, DEVILISH, DREAMY, DRAT…with Laurie Schnebly Campbell”

  1. One of my favorite authors is Maggie Robinson. Not only does she deliver excellent dialogue but her descriptions are divine. I laugh out loud every time I read the opening paragraph of her book Lady Anne’s Lover.

    “Lady Imaculata Egremont had danced naked in a fountain. She’d eloped to France with a rackety gentleman she’d just as soon forget. She’d sold chestnuts on the street. There was no reason on earth why she could not pick up a dead mouse and dispose of it with her usual élan.”

    I can just imagine a prissy young lady who’s got courage galore but can’t summon enough confidence to rid herself of a dead mouse at her feet. Ms. Robinson is a master of description. Love he books for that reason.

    Posted by Stella | September 13, 2013, 7:15 am
  2. One of my favorite authors is Jayne Ann Krentz. To be honest, I can’t decide which aspect of her writing I like best. Her descriptions may take me to a tropical jungle, the dark streets of Victorian London, or the catacombs on Harmony, but it’s her dialogue that makes her characters come alive.

    Posted by Vicki | September 13, 2013, 7:53 am
  3. Stella, that’s a gem! (Perfect match for your photo, huh? 🙂 )

    And now you’ve got me heading over to Amazon in search of Lady Anne’s Lover…what a FABULOUS illustration!

    Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | September 13, 2013, 8:03 am
  4. I love that she can make description sound like the perfect story all in itself. It almost sounds as if she’s talking to you! Love it!

    Posted by Lynn Price | September 13, 2013, 8:13 am
  5. Morning Laurie!!

    Great to have you visiting with us again! =)

    When I think of someone who writes great descriptions, I always think of Kathleen Woodiwiss. Her books take me away to another world….when I read Shanna I was on the streets of London, in a sugar cane field, stuck in the pit in the bar…I was THERE.

    On the other hand, I think Janet Evanovich does an awesome job with minimal dialogue – when Ranger says “Babe” I can hear it in my head…the smirk behind it, the tolerance. When grandma says “I shot the bird in the gumpy” I can just hear the satisfaction and wonder in her voice.

    Or maybe I just hear voice in my head…lol..

    Thanks for joining us today – hang on to your Amazon shopping cart, because I bet we have lots of great book ideas today!


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | September 13, 2013, 8:23 am
    • Carrie, I’m right there with you in admiring Janet Evanovich’s dialogue — you’re right, she’s so easy to hear in your head.

      And you reminded me that I’ve GOT to read Kathleen Woodiwiss, which a lot of people have said was their first-ever romance novel…someone warned that it sounds a bit dated because it came out in the 70s, but for a historical who cares?!

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | September 13, 2013, 8:35 am
      • I think I’d read a few romances prior to KW, but holy smokes, once I read hers I was permanently hooked. Yes, probably very dated with long flowing descriptions, but I refused to read anything except historicals after I read hers. Until I found Ms. Evanovich anyways! =)


        Posted by Carrie Spencer | September 13, 2013, 8:39 am
    • It’s funny, Carrie, I just posted below that it’s her dialogue that makes Janet Evanovich’s characters so real to me. Funny how people see such completely different sides of the same book, isn’t it?

      Posted by Linda Fletcher | September 13, 2013, 11:53 am
  6. I have just finished reading two books by Vijaya Schartz: Princess of Bretagne, and Pagan Queen, and was so impressed with the descriptions. It seemed Vijay was able to find exactly the right words for everything she was trying to describe, which did evoke not only the right image but the right mood in the moment! Nothing seemed cliche or contrived, just written smoothly and so well!

    Posted by Charlotte Raby | September 13, 2013, 8:45 am
  7. Jodi Thomas, Catherine Anderson, and Brenda Barrett are excellent at description. Tara Janzen writes to-die-for dialogue.

    PS: Appreciate this article and I believe I’m better with dialogue. The tips about sensation, mood, etc. driving both dialogue and description are on point. Thanks!

    Posted by Brigette Manie | September 13, 2013, 8:56 am
    • Brigette, I’m impressed that as a better-at-dialogue writer you’re still able to spot so many fabulous-at-description authors.

      All of whom are now on my watch-for list…and I’ll bet Tara Jantzen has something new out since I binged on her entire backlist in 2011, hurray!

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | September 13, 2013, 9:32 am
  8. Laurie Alice Eakes is wonderful with description, and the way she uses it to add layers to her characters is amazing! I also like Julia Quinn’s use of dialogue in her character development.

    As far as myself, I’m better at dialogue now–when I first started writing, my descriptions were my best feature but as I’ve grown, I think my dialogue is pretty darn good! ~grin~

    Posted by Patty Smith Hall | September 13, 2013, 9:21 am
    • Patty, I agree with you on all three of those authors. Especially the one whose books I’ve read the most frequently, which is you…looking back from your first book to your latest, the dialogue HAS gotten stronger and more sparkling.

      Can’t wait to see what’s next!

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | September 13, 2013, 9:35 am
  9. A recommendation? Right, here you go: Martha Wells. (She’s nominally a Fantasy writer, but there’s often a romantic subplot woven rather neatly into the whole.) I’d suggest The Cloud Roads as a good place to start with her work, but the exchange that first leapt to mind is actually from The Element Of Fire (and I’m quoting from memory, so any errors are mine):

    “Are you sure you can get us inside?” asked Thomas.

    “No.” Kade paused, considering. “Am I fool for telling you the truth?”

    “No.” Thomas studied her face. “Am I a fool for expecting you to?”

    Posted by Michael Mock | September 13, 2013, 9:31 am
  10. Laurie, I loved the “drat” because it’s something you say a lot. Authentic. That’s what I look for in keeper books. When I think about favorites that’s so hard, because we have so many really great writers out. I guess I’d have to pick Elmore Leonard (rest his soul) for dialogue that reaches off the page. But there are many others. TNTC–too numerous to count.

    Posted by Roz Fox | September 13, 2013, 9:40 am
    • Roz, you’re SO right about Elmore Leonard — wasn’t he the one who said “I skip the parts nobody reads” ? Talk about a gift for authentic dialogue.

      TNTC is a great phrase…kind of like when somebody asks you to pick your favorite of your own 50 books. (Or are you now at 51?)

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | September 13, 2013, 9:52 am
  11. I’m a dialogue person, sort of. Love to read it, love to write it. But speak it, yeah, not so much. Wonder why that is?

    I think that’s why I love J.R. Ward. The dialogue hooks me (and cracks me up at times).

    Posted by Stacy McKitrick | September 13, 2013, 9:45 am
    • Stacy, I like your distinction between reading / writing / speaking dialogue — I think a lot of writers got into the craft because of “not so much” liking to speak. Much smoother to just let our characters do it!

      And now that I know J.R. Ward writes the kind of dialogue that invokes cracking up, she doesn’t sound nearly as scary/dark as I’d always envisioned…so there’s another must-read. 🙂

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | September 13, 2013, 9:55 am
  12. I’ve recently discovered Lauren Willig. I like her work because it’s different enough to be fresh, without losing the familiarity of the romance novel. The one I just finished was set in India in the 18th century and I loved the description she gave of the country that the h/h travelled through. Having never been to India myself, it really pulled me into the story by giving me a visual to hold on to.

    Posted by Heather Jackson | September 13, 2013, 9:51 am
  13. Hi Laurie,

    L A Banks had a way with description and dialogue. Her Vampire Huntress series is so rich with characters and world building. I would add drab to your D words. Most of time, the heroine describes herself or life as drab. Then the story of transformation unfolds.

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | September 13, 2013, 10:02 am
  14. Great post Laurie! I just finished reading Shana Galan’s “True Spies.” I love her characters quick whit and the pacing of the dialogue.

    I’ve been really studying dialogue in action sequences as to keep it interesting without slowing the action.

    Posted by Natalie C. Markey | September 13, 2013, 10:06 am
    • Natalie, even the title “True Spies” promises quick wit — that’s a grabber!

      And you’re right about how there’s a risk of dialogue slowing down the action in a tense sequence; there’s sure an art to keeping it taut. Which is why, I’m betting, Bridgette mentioned Tara Jantzen and Roz mentioned Elmore Leonard…sounds like Shana Galan belongs on that same list. 🙂

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | September 13, 2013, 10:34 am
  15. First I need to say I have taken several of Laurie’s classes and even will take them over. There is always something new and more to add form her.

    I have been reading Barbara Silkstones’s London Broil and I love the way her descriptions are not too over done or long. I get just enough to keep the pace of the story moving and see the picture. The dialog also moves smooth and well. I can figure our who is talking with out the clumsy name or adhective and name after the words.

    I suggest checking out her books because they move so smmoth in combination they are a good read. I cna read them at t great pace and keep the suspence and humor balance.

    Posted by Denise Speckhardt | September 13, 2013, 10:43 am
    • Denise, isn’t it a treat finding someone whose books resonate with you? There’s nothing like embarking on a whole series from an author you’ve just discovered and love!

      Good point about the descriptions not being too long or overdone; and the dialogue not needing taglines to let you know who’s saying what. Barbara Silkstone sounds like a winner, for sure.

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | September 13, 2013, 10:45 am
      • What I also enjoyed is that I picked this one up first to read, not realizing it is the second in her series. I think it has Three right now with a fourth on the way. However I did nto feel I missed anything by not reading in order. It had enough description that I could figure out what had happened, yet gave me a desire to go back and read the first one. I did nto feel it was spoiling anything either to go back.

        It is important when using description that you can do that. Greeat balance and order is so hard to come by and create.

        I also do like Janet Evonovich. I have not been able to read all her books. I did not ahve the first for a while. However I had the same feeling inpicking up one. I could read it and figure out show Stephanie and her band of characters are and not need to have post read the rest. Yet I will want to.

        Dialog tag lines often get in the way and I would rend to skip some because if I read them all I got board and lost the book. I put it down and I an done. You stumble and then you losse track of what is going on and take away some of the important feelings.

        Writer has to be abel to allow the reader to have thier own picture as part of it. I think you can loose that sometimes by the writer wanting it exactlly their way.

        Elle Lothlorlein’s Books are also very simmilar. She has doen a modern take on Sleeping Beauty. She has narcolepsy and falls asleep in strange places, and meets into two men in the coarse of the story. What is great is she wrote a version of the book how she was told then she did it her way with an alternate ending. once again she gives a lot of great color descrttriptions and not a lot of tags eihter. Her Frog Prince re do is very funnny from the start. The description of the characters and aslo family customs comes clear in the actions of the people.

        I used to hate reading as a kid, mostly because it took too long. I find it is mostly the books have too much descriptions and I want to keep flowing.

        I hope I inspire you all to try one of these authors if you have not.

        Posted by Denise Speckhardt | September 13, 2013, 12:43 pm
  16. I have to say I am a big Dakota Cassidy and Michele Bardsley fan and they both excel at dialog (not that they lack in descriptive talent), but there is just this quality to the dialog that is fun and sassy that propels the story and hooks you. It is this quality that first had me entertain writing my own stories.

    I too have taken many of Laurie’s classes and will definitely be taking them again. I too am rather heavy with descriptions, but after joining as an intern sorting through the slush pile, I now see how important it is not to over do things. Don’t have stereotypical characters. Don’t beat your readers over the head with mundane descriptions or repeatedly tell them the same thing in different ways. A lot of times I sit back and think, “well, this author is clearly trying too hard to hit the magic number for print.”

    I cannot impress upon people enough how much Laurie has improved my writing. I can’t begin to count how many “ah-ha” moments I have had while in the middle of a lesson. I don’t know how many writers Laurie has impacted, but I know I owe a lot to Laurie and her patience. She never let me quit or doubted I could do it.

    Posted by Margie Hall | September 13, 2013, 10:57 am
    • Margie, your point about overdone description reminds me of something I heard when touring the Globe Theatre meant to recreate Shakespeare’s original — since they didn’t have mics and the audience sat around three sides of the stage, a character couldn’t just declare “I love her” and expect everyone to hear it.

      So he’d declare “I love her” to the west, then “She’s my beloved” to the south, then “I adore her” to the east. Efficient, huh? 🙂

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | September 13, 2013, 11:18 am
  17. I love Adrienne DeWolfe’s dialogue. Her characters are funny and they drag you into their plight and you stay because it’s so quickpaced and just fantastic. AND her books just came out on kindle! Woot!

    Posted by Cheryl Rae | September 13, 2013, 11:34 am
  18. I love Janet Evanovich’s dialogue. She describes the characters in the Stephanie Plum books sparingly, but when the characters talk, that’s when you begin to picture them SO vividly. I feel like if I saw Joe Morelli on the street, I’d be able to say hello because I’d recognize him immediately (well, after I jumped his bones, LOL–but that’s how real she’s made that character to me, at least in the earlier books).

    Posted by Linda Fletcher | September 13, 2013, 11:50 am
    • Linda, I never even noticed until you mentioned it that Janet Evanovich’s descriptions are pretty spare, and it’s for exactly the reason you mentioned…hearing their dialogue makes it so easy to see them!

      Speaking of which, we’d better not run into Morelli at the same time — although, hmm, now I’m wondering what he’d say if we both jumped on him at once. 🙂

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | September 13, 2013, 11:53 am
  19. I’ve taken Laurie’s classes and have really improved my writing. Her book, Believable Characters – Creating with Enneagrams is one of my faves for creating characters.

    James Rollins isn’t a romance writer(although he does have a romantic elements), but the descriptions in his scientific adventure books are fantastic.

    Gayle Wilson’s descriptions in her historicals make me swoon.

    And Susan Elizabeth Phillips? Heck, get that coin back out. I’d need to flip it to pick which is better, descriptions or dialog.

    Posted by Suzanne Moore | September 13, 2013, 12:31 pm
    • Suzanne, I love being mentioned in the same post as James Rollins, Gayle Wilson and Susan Elizabeth Phillips!

      And, boy, just comparing those three authors makes me realize what a wide range of reading tastes almost everyone here HAS…don’t you love being able to walk down virtually any aisle of the bookstore and find something worth hunting down coins for?

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | September 13, 2013, 1:43 pm
  20. Hi Laurie,

    I enjoy how you dig in and make writing well so accessible. I just wrote about you and on another blog this week.

    But, to answer your dialogue or description question, I love Josie Litton’s dialogue. She captures the essence of the hero and heroine in her Viking trilogy so well. Her descriptions sparkle, too, but I LOVE the talking.

    Thanks for the reminder about the fundamentals, too!!

    Take care and Happy Friday-

    Posted by Gina Conkle | September 13, 2013, 1:02 pm
    • Gina, thanks for mentioning me and WriterUniv on a blog; that’s nice to hear!

      And if ever there was someone whose opinion on Viking dialogue I trust, that’s you — have you ever wondered what’d happen if Josie Litton’s characters ran into yours from Norse Jewel? 🙂

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | September 13, 2013, 1:46 pm
  21. Hi Laurie!

    I love descriptions but dialogue reveals so much about a character. I’m a big fan of SEP and her characters’ dialogue. I don’t watch a lot of television, but I’m drawn to shows with snappy dialogue, like “Suits”, “Scandal”, and “Gilmore Girls”.

    Thanks for joining us today. Your posts are always spot on!

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | September 13, 2013, 4:49 pm
  22. Harlan Coben is a big favourite of mine. His dialogue is great, but I’d have to say his description is better.

    I really had to think about it. I’ve loved his books for quite some time, but never weighed dialogue Vs description.


    Posted by Cia | September 13, 2013, 5:28 pm
    • Cia, I’m so glad you thought of Harlan Coben — he’s amazing, isn’t he? And I’m right there with you in not knowing which I like better, his dialogue or description, because they both have such different strengths.

      Hmm, now I want to go to New Jersey for a Yoo-hoo…

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | September 13, 2013, 5:35 pm
  23. Jennifer Crusie, for me!!! I love how quickly each character’s personality is shaped by their dialogue, and how different each one sounds. And they usually say the kind of thing I wish I thought of…or was willing to say aloud. I’m sure she’s also wonderful at description–I can always picture the setting and movement but am never distracted by it. I don’t pay that much attention to it, with the exception of facial expressions of the characters–always a seamless match of expression reacting to the witty lines.

    I can’t always remember the setting she used…or even some of the plot…but years later, I still remember her characters! Which is why her books are re-readers for me.

    Another terrific post, Laurie!!

    Posted by Kathleen | September 13, 2013, 5:30 pm
    • Kathleen, wow, Jennifer Crusie is another winner — it’s always such a treat listening to her characters talk! Or think. Or even move around on the stage. 🙂

      And now I’m gonna have to start watching and appreciating how she uses the facial expressions to enhance the dialogue; that’s a layer I never thought of before. Thanks for some good entertainment ahead!

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | September 13, 2013, 5:37 pm
  24. I love alliteration – you hooked me as soon as I read your title. Great post, Laurie – thank you so much!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | September 13, 2013, 5:56 pm
  25. Hi Laurie. Wonderful post. Having done the Double D class, I can vouch that it is an awesome class too….I love Sarah Morgan’s crackling dialogue which keeps me turning the pages till the HEA ending.

    Posted by Adite Banerjie | September 13, 2013, 6:48 pm
  26. Laurie,

    Thanks for asking about our favorite authors when it comes to dialogue and description. The posts helped me identify some new authors.

    Now to my answer to the questions.

    My favorite author for dialogue is Nora writing as J D Robb. The way the cast of characters in her Death series are portrays through dialogue and thoughts is great. After rereading “Reunion in Death,” I’m putting it on my craft-of-writing shelf. Dallas’s and Roarke’s thoughts in the first love scene make it so romantic.

    I don’t pay much attention to description but Claire Delacroix/Claire Cross/Deborah Cooke really caught my attention in two of her books. Seeing our world through the heroine’s eyes in “Moonstone,” after she time-traveled from 14th century England to an island off British Columbia, was amazing. And the way the heroine sees New York City in the first book (“Fallen”) in her futuristic series Prometheus Project was also good. It wasn’t long, but then we don’t want a lot of description of someplace that’s still radioactive from a nuclear blast — but I definitely knew it was NYC.

    I have to agree with a couple of the earlier posts. J R Ward’s “street talk” in her Fallen Angel series is great. I don’t know why Jayne Ann Krentz is my favorite romance author, but I do know that reading her books convinced me to become a romance reader. Now I’m thinking about some of Jennifer Crusie’s dialogue, the FAM’s (pets) dialogue in Robin K. Owens’s Heart series, and . . . Okay, I definitely have to stop now.


    Posted by Karen N. Jones | September 13, 2013, 6:55 pm
  27. Okay, leaving work to hit the gym and then an art-museum opening with my husband…but I’ll check back later tonight to see if I missed anybody.

    Meanwhile, THANK YOU to everybody who posted (and who might post this evening) such a wonderful bunch of names to check out. Seriously, I can’t wait to go try a whole lot of these new authors and revisit some old favorites.

    Laurie, wishing I’d thought to ask Carrie if Romance University can do the prize-drawing for a free class — I’m gonna bet they can!

    Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | September 13, 2013, 7:34 pm
  28. Absolutely! The winner is Margie Hall as chosen by! Congratulations Margie!

    And thanks so much Laurie for visiting with us today – it was awesome as always! =)


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | September 14, 2013, 12:13 am
  29. Sorry I got here late but I just had to comment…
    I guess I have to admit to one of my favorite authors being Nora Roberts. The reason is because her dialogue is so easy to follow that I get the feeling that I literally know the person who’s talking. To me, that makes for great characters.

    Posted by Mimi Barbour | September 14, 2013, 2:43 am
  30. Hi Laurie, Though I’m too late for the contest, I still wanted to pop on over to see you. Missed class yesterday. My loss.

    I have a slightly different take on the dialogue vs. description. An old favorite of mine, Kathleen Woodiwiss, used to put me back in the time period she wrote in. Newer authors, on the other hand, like Christie Craig,have the knack of bringing characters to life through dialogue.

    So I think that over the past 30 years, writing styles by romance authors, for the most part, have changed to meet the demand of the writer’s market—that is,readers.

    Posted by Julie Robinson | September 14, 2013, 7:59 pm
    • Julie, the idea that each D has its own era for taking the lead role is fascinating — I like it!

      And if dialogue is replacing description as the readers’ favorite, is that because we can see more places from the comfort of our computer or because in-person chat doesn’t happen as often as it used to or…? Interesting to ponder.

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | September 14, 2013, 10:02 pm
  31. I know it’s too late to win, but I’d like to submit my entry anyway!

    Sarah Rees Brennan uses description very well to enhance setting and mood.
    From Unspoken: The dark curve of the woods held the glittering lights of Sorry-in-the-Vale like a handful of stars in a shadowy palm. On the other end of the woods, high above the town, was Aurimere House, its bell tower a skeletal finger pointing at the sky.

    She also has some pretty witty dialogue as well!

    Posted by Keri | September 15, 2013, 11:26 am
  32. Great post! My critique partners tell me I am a master at dialogue. And I confess that my first drafts are sometimes pages of nothing but dialogue which I later have to go back and tag (yep, I often don’t tag it on the first run through) and then add the dreaded descriptions.

    I love Jill Shalvis. I love her dialogue especially between her male characters. It has such an authentic ring to it.

    I also think Elmore Leonard is a master at dialogue as is Janet Evanovich.

    Posted by Carol Opalinski | September 15, 2013, 2:52 pm
    • Carol, it sounds like you’d be fabulous at writing radio plays — gotta love it when somebody can tell the entire story through dialogue!

      Which I suspect is true of Evanovich and Leonard and maybe Shalvis (whom I haven’t yet read but now WILL) as well. You’re right that plausible dialogue between men is a completely different skill-set, although I’m sure men would say the same thing about women. 🙂

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | September 15, 2013, 4:20 pm

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