There's a great post on editing dialogue on The Blood-Red Pencil today.
I love dialogue. It's my favourite thing to read and my favourite thing to write. I often tune out of books if they go too long without anyone saying anything, unless the writing is really engaging and there's a strong sense of character, even if the character isn't saying much. Dialogue for me makes a piece of writing humann - if there's a person, and they're talking, I feel more like I can get to know them. But since I love dialogue and write a lot of it, naturally I make a lot of my mistakes there.
I'm most guilty of the Filler Dialogue problem.
'How are you?' asked Rosie.
'Fine, fine,' said Elizabeth, sitting down at the table with a sigh. 'Jack got over that awful cold, thank God.'
'Oh, I'm glad to hear that. . .'
Bleugh. No one needs to read that. Unless, somehow, I need to use that dialogue to imply that Rosie isn't happy at all that Jack is feeling better because she has - DUN DUN DUN - poisoned him with a synthetic version of the common cold virus. People did that all the time in the forties, honest.
I'm bad for the Talking Heads problem too - once my characters start nattering, I often find myself leaving them to it. In real life, there's nothing I'd rather do than talk and listen. The biggest drain on my writing time is meeting up with friends to talk, so when my characters start talking, I'm quite happy to just sit back and let it happen.
Not allowed though, it doesn't read well.
Do you guys have any problems with writing dialogue? Do you prefer to skip it altogether?