Thanks for the reference, I'll add it to my pile of craft books. Yes, it's interesting how developmental problems link together like this. And I think subtlety, nuance, and subtext is novel writing doing what it does best. The medium paints a picture the reader can take in at their leisure, so there is lots of room for all that. And as for bestsellers: if the author already has a large audience, then people will read and buy the book. There's lots of bestsellers that could benefit from developmental editing input and feedback, but if a book has a big audience already or strikes a chord, it can become a hit regardless of the quality. I've heard that The Room (2003) is a film full of really bad dialogue, so I'd like to watch and learn from it!

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I'm reading Robert McKee's book, "Dialague: The art of verbal action etc etc. (https://www.amazon.ca/Dialogue-Verbal-Action-Stage-Screen/dp/1478938420)

A few things that have stood out so far from reading it: 1) Dialogue has to perform multiple tasks: establish character, move the plot forward, create tension, impart intel, smuggle in subtext to the story (he's super-keen on this one); 2) Dialogue problems are often character problems; in short, wooden, unconvincing dialogue may flow from an imperfectly or poorly imagined character.

On that last point, I'm reminded of a book—a multi-million-copy bestseller with an Amazon series and at least one award—that I was naturally keen to read. But the dialogue within this lauded bestseller honestly made me want to kill myself—or the author. The dialogue was so wooden I could scarcely distinguish the main characters from a pile of 2 x 4s. Apart from anything else, the dialogue appeared to be trying to reproduce actual patterns of speech you'd hear in everyday conversation. "Hello X." "Oh hello Y." "Lovely weather we're having..." and so on. It was terrifyingly bad.

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