Editing With Only Dialogue

Earlier today (okay, sort of yesterday) I posted a revised version of The Price of Demand draft 3, this time with everything except dialogue stripped from it. There’s no context, no description, not even any proper dialogue tags. I simply identify each character before each line.

This is part of an experiment to see if I can make editing a bit easier. I’m hoping that:

  • It’ll make consistency of voice easier.
  • It’ll make weaknesses in the story easier to spot. (I already know the ending is dreadful and I’ll be rewriting that whole section.)
  • It’ll improve dialogue flow.
  • It’ll reduce redundancy in the text.
  • It’ll help me cut down on exposition.
  • It’ll help me show rather than tell.

There’ll be some challenges in doing the editing this way, starting with the fact that I’m forcing myself to work from two documents instead of one. Possibly three documents; I’ve been toying with the idea of a similar exposition-only version as well, though I think that’ll break a lot more than dialogue-only did.

Once I’ve gone over the story as spoken only by the characters, I’ll have an easy way to block out the structure of the story, identify areas where exposition is really critical and where it’s difficult or impossible to convey it through dialogue. At that point I can go back and begin working the exposition back into the story again. I expect this’ll be the most difficult, or at least the most time-consuming part of the process.

Wish me luck!