"I write lots of narration and exposition. How much dialog does a Romance genre book need?"
Or, to put it another way . . . in Romance genre, do the hero and heroine have to talk to each other?
Ever on the alert for topics of world-shaking import, I set my mind to this one.
|where metatext needs metatext|
One way to investigate the dialog/narration question is to . . . look.
(This is the alert-and-proactive attitude that kept your hunter-gatherer ancestors alive in a hostile world and allowed you to survive High School.)
One can go to googlebooks. Here.
At googlebooks, type in the name of a wildly successful romance author.
Eloisa James, for instance.
Pick a book at random. Your Wicked Ways. Here.
In the 'search box' to the right,
(We'll all wait while you find the search box to the right. You've got it? Yes. Good.)
type in the word, 'under'.
This will generate a variety of random pages.
Randomness is powerful.
On these random pages, we will estimate the percentage of dialog.
(which we will dictatorially assume also includes tags and trailing stuff actions and like that but not exposition or narrative.)
page -- percent dialog-ish stuff
page 334 -- has only 5% dialog-ish
223 -- 50%
126 -- 95%
290 -- 15%
281 -- 40%
Jayne Ann Krentz, Absolutely Positively
58 -- 10%
38 -- 90%
156 -- 95%
43 -- 20%
244 -- 95%
174 -- 0 %
Mary Jo Putney, Never Less Than a Lady
76 -- 0%
245 -- 90%
133 -- 70%
236 -- 15%
Nora Roberts, Vision in White
331 -- 0%
262 -- 100%
313 -- 15%
131 -- 95%
126 -- 60%
What we see from this is that successful authors use both dialog and narration and they don't mind committing a whole page to one or the other. A cursory glance at a few random pages would indicate there's a pretty even balance between pages heavy on one and heavy on the other.