Dialogue vs Conversation

As any good wannabe writer should while researching agents, I read the entire site. This is so I can learn about what they are looking for and if I think I could fit with them. Often, they will have tips and tricks to make your manuscript better, to smooth out your query letter and just in general grammar and writing pointers from people who have seen it all and know the process.

I ran across one last night that talked about dialogue vs conversation. I hate to disagree with a professional, considering I haven’t even been signed or published, I am an avid reader and as a fan, I know what I like.

Dialogue and conversation seem to be the same thing. Both things spoken by the characters. The difference, as noted on the site I was reading, is that dialogue moves the story along while conversation does not. Therefore, conversations should be cut in favor of only dialogue.

While I agree with cutting anything that doesn’t move the story along, I also feel like conversation CAN add and build to the story, even if not directly. Sometimes the simplest conversations over coffee, small talk, can show you who a character is and what they are made of. In my opinion that is still moving the story along.

I tend to put small talk in my stories because I believe it makes my characters believable and real. Life is conversations and not just dialogue. It is those small things that build and become the story, not just the conflicts and big picture things.

However, I am taking to heart what the pros say. I just need to find my own pace and my own style with balancing their pointers and expertise.

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