NOTE: I had this post sitting in my drafts folder for almost a year, so I figured it was time to bring it out.
THE ACTUAL POST: Dialogue generally makes the pace of a story move along quickly. Any kind of description will most likely slow the pace. The key is to achieve a kind of balance between tons of dialogue and tons of description, otherwise you risk boring yourself as the writer or any potential readers.
A long time ago, I used so much dialogue for one story that I got sick of listening to the characters talk. For my next story, I imposed a limit of only five lines of dialogue per chapter. Being that this story was for NaNoWriMo, the chapters were roughly 1,667 words each.
Because I had put a severe limitation on the dialogue, I felt as though I had to weigh each of my characters’ words and try to make them more significant somehow. So my first line of dialogue was the ominous, “Guess what I found on the Internet, Abbye,” and the last line was, “I have nothing to be afraid of anymore.”
I don’t know if that technique did improve the dialogue itself, but it made me think about how necessary each line is and whether I could go without it, or if the character could show instead of tell what he or she was thinking or feeling. It was a fun experiment to try. Maybe for my next project, I’ll write a story that’s all dialogue with only five lines of description per chapter. That should be fun.