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Hi I have read practically all the internet tips and read loads of books on writing narrative but when it comes down to it I am still failing. Partly because I get so caught up in the dialogue of a story I forget readers cannot see the pictures in my head. Therefore I continue to search for narrative writing techniques and would be pleased if you could give me any suggestions.

Hello Lyn:

There are several ways you might deal with this problem. If you find the dialogue so fascinating you want to write nothing else, don't. Do the first draft totally in dialogue, with bits of action noted here and there just to keep you on the right path. In fact I have heard it recommended that a writer do the first draft entirely in dialogue and action. In the second and third draft you can add the description, interior monologue, liven up the verbs, etc. Or, if you at length get sick of all the talk, you can start putting other things in.

Don't even tell yourself that you are failing. You are not, you're simply trying out different techniques to see which works best. Each writer must develop their own methods; what works for one won't work for another.

The fact that you have clear pictures in your head bodes well for your powers of description. Think the scenes through carefully and notice what you notice. It helps me a lot to write a condensed version as a movie - that's a good way to get the dialogue and the bulk of the action down.

If you you can't find the "right" narrative technique despite many, many tries, it could be that at this point you are incapable of deciding which is the best. What that means is more learning. Try different techniques: do one scene with straight narrative, another just in dialogue, etc. Experiment around with various things. I believe I sense a certain tightness, a closing in happening with you. Don't give in to this! Write loosely and freely - have fun with it! Jump outside the box - try to relax and open your mind to play.

I hope this has helped. If it has, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 225+ questions.

And good luck with your work!

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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