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    #1

    Question Questions re: dialogue, quotes and narrative

    Here are 3 examples. Can you explain the rules on how to write dialogue? When do I begin a new paragragh when quoting people in a conversation?

    In question 1, I am commenting on my own quote. Do I start a new paragraph after alright? Or do I comment or narrate about my quote in the same paragraph?

    In question 2, I'm commenting on my wife's quote. Do I start a new paragraph after fine, or do I narrate on her quote in the same paragraph?

    In question 3, I'm describing Dr. Fortuna in the same paragraph. Is this correct? Or do I start a new paragraph to describe him? I've included some of our conversation in the next few paragraphs afterward. But I'm not sure where to begin a new paragraph? I'd appreciate your input.

    1) “No. I’ll be alright.” I knew that going to the hospital probably meant having surgery. I got up a few minutes later. I was hungry but still in pain. I ate dinner, watched TV and then went to bed. I couldn't sleep. The pain was keeping me awake.

    2) “I’m fine.” Claire always said she was fine. Even when she was feeling miserable.

    3) “Hello Mr. Rad. I’m Dr. Fortuna. I’ll be performing the surgery.” Dr. Fortuna was middle aged, probably less than 40 years old, with dark hair and an average build.

    “Hello Dr. Fortuna. What exactly does that entail?” I asked.
    “I need to remove a couple of inches of your small intestine and your appendix, and then reconnect the healthy tissue of your intestine. You should be in the hospital for about ten days,” he said. Making it sound just a little too easy for comfort.
    “Well, that doesn’t sound that bad.”
    Thanks.

    Joe
    Last edited by BJoeR; 15-Jan-2012 at 21:34.

  1. SlickVic9000's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Questions re: dialogue, quotes and narrative

    (Not a Teacher)

    It's your writing, you can arrange it however you want, as long as the reader can follow it. What you've got now looks fine to me. That said, whenever I see extended dialogue in a novel, each line of dialogue is separated by a space.


    You might message Barb D, she's a writer and could probably give you some good pointers.
    Last edited by SlickVic9000; 15-Jan-2012 at 20:17.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Questions re: dialogue, quotes and narrative

    Well, I'm a business writer, not a fiction writer, so I don't have any more knowledge than the next person on this topic. However, I agree with Vic. Each time the speaker changes, you start a new paragraph. If your new paragraphs all have a line between them, then make sure you skip a line here too.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Questions re: dialogue, quotes and narrative

    Most novels will start a new line, and indent, when a different character speaks. If it's the same character, you stay on the same line.

    “Hello Mr. Rad. I’m Dr. Fortuna." Dr. Fortuna was middle aged, probably less than 40 years old, with dark hair and an average build. "I’ll be performing the surgery.”
    “Hello Dr. Fortuna." I hesitated, then asked, "What exactly does that entail?"
    (This editor doesn't handle indents)
    You don't leave a spare line between paragraphs. This usually happens in novels only if there is a change in scene.
    But the rules for manuscripts, and what you see in the final novel might be different. You probably don't need to indent a manuscript. If you plan to send your story to a publishing house, you should probably ask them for a style sheet. Different publishers have different rules. Either way, your lines are well set out, so if it's good enough, they'll read it, and impose their own house style on your story if they publish it.
    You could also simply buy a contemporary novel, and set out your typescript in a similar manner. It seems you are literate; you must have access to a few novels whose style you could copy.

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