In my novel Syncopation, Adele Hugo writes her memoirs, and as she writes she sometimes argues with her sister. These pieces of dialog fall outside the main narrative and are indicated by italics.
All of the people who have read only the first few chapters of Syncopation comment that the dialog between the sisters is confusing and should be dropped. All of the people who have read the entire manuscript say that the dialog between the sisters is brilliant, the best part of the story.
At one point, I took the suggestion about removing the dialog and revised for many months. The story fell apart. I put it back together, but it wasn’t anywhere near as good. So, I’ve “trashed” that revision and continue to try to pitch the version with the dialog.
You see, as the memoir progress, the dialog develops and merges with the ongoing narrative. The reason for it becomes apparent.
How can I get people to want to keep reading in order to see how good that part of the story is? In particular, how can I get agents and editors to keep reading? I’ve been hesitant to explain all of this in my query letter, but should I? My query letter is getting responses, but my first few chapters do not.