I've been listening to some of the old "Shadow" pulps on my Kindle while I commute lately. They're interesting, although there's a lot of sameness about them. One thing did occur to me today on my trip in.
The Shadow stories are 'heavily' dialogue driven, probably because of their close relationship with the old radio serial format. As a result, they work pretty well as audio works. But one thing I've noticed is that there is hardly any "music" to the stories at all. Except for the rare descriptions of "The Shadow," the sentences and paragraphs fall leaden on the ears.
I believe it's largely the dialogue that is to blame, and that this is probably why I typically don't read books that begin with dialogue or are heavy with dialogue. Descriptive prose, or action-driven prose, can develop a rhythm, a kind of poetry in prose form.
"All morning the moon hangs frozen on the sky, and the wind-bell rings unheard on the hard east wind." (Matthiessen)
Dialogue seldom obtains even a fraction of this kind of poetry, and then only in the hands of true masters. And I'm realizing, from listening to the "Shadow" stories, that I need the rhythm. I need beautiful, poetic prose and imagery to fully lose myself in a story.
I understand that dialogue is a necessary evil. I try to write it as well as I can. But it'll always be a weak sister to me. Maybe I really am a poet at heart. Some form of a poet anyway.