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  1. #1
    monsterjazzlicks's Avatar
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    Question RE: Dedicated Paragraphs For Dialogue (help?)

    Hi folks,

    When writing dialogue between two characters, I have always placed each line of dialogue (by each character) in a new line/paragraph. For instance:

    "Hey, how's it going Dave?" asked Pete.

    "Not too bad, thanks," Dave replied.

    "I heard you got a promotion?" Pete asked.

    "Yes. I am now a manager."

    And so on and so forth ...

    However, I have been trying to work out (from comparing different sources of literary materials) which is the correct method for interjecting description/narrator's-voice between such dialogue.

    For example, somebody might say something, and then someone's actions might be described, before returning to more dialogue:

    “We should be out of this damn joint by 8pm,” Mack whispered to Splinter. Mack glanced upward. Less than ninety minutes to go – according to the canteen clock. “Sure Mack. I can’t believe we’re finally getting out of this hell hole.”

    Or, should this be written as:

    “We should be out of this damn joint by 8pm,” Mack whispered to Splinter.

    Mack glanced upward. Less than ninety minutes to go – according to the canteen clock.

    “Sure Mack. I can’t believe we’re finally getting out of this hell hole.”

    I have seen such variants throughout my readings.

    Many thanks in advance for any assistance here,

    Paul
    Last edited by monsterjazzlicks; 28-Aug-2017 at 15:30. Reason: spelling
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  2. #2
    monsterjazzlicks's Avatar
    monsterjazzlicks is offline Member
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    Re: Dedicated Paragraphs For Dialogue (help?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    There are no absolute rules about this. As you have seen, different writers have different styles.
    Hi Piscean,

    That seems to be the common answer on here! Fair enough.

    But would you say that one method is more popular with English writers/publishers than with Americans?

    Paul
    Mature student of GCSE English, GCSE Maths, and Level One BSL.

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  3. #3
    monsterjazzlicks's Avatar
    monsterjazzlicks is offline Member
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    Question Re: Dedicated Paragraphs For Dialogue (help?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    There are no absolute rules about this.
    Piscean,

    Stating the obvious here:

    “We should be out of this damn joint by 8pm,” Mack whispered to Splinter. Mack glanced upward. Less than ninety minutes to go – according to the canteen clock. “Sure Mack. I can’t believe we’re finally getting out of this hell hole.”

    While the above is clustered, it does economise on real-estate (eg. you might save on 20 sheets of paper over the course of a entire book [or print off]!).

    While:

    “We should be out of this damn joint by 8pm,” Mack whispered to Splinter.

    Mack glanced upward. Less than ninety minutes to go – according to the canteen clock.

    “Sure Mack. I can’t believe we’re finally getting out of this hell hole.”

    ... is much easier-on-the-eye. However, this method is going to swallow up a lot of pages in the long run!

    Cheers,

    Paul
    Last edited by monsterjazzlicks; 28-Aug-2017 at 16:43. Reason: spelling
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  4. #4
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    monsterjazzlicks is offline Member
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    Question Re: Dedicated Paragraphs For Dialogue (help?)

    Hi,

    Do you think it would be permissible to use a kind of halfway house system to present the alternations between dialogue and situational events/descriptions, please?

    For example:

    "What a terrible morning its been," Jane complained to Ann. She had known the events were going to be demanding from the offset. Continuing to remove the wilting flowers from the china vases, she turned to Ann to see her reaction to the comment.

    Ann stood glaring. And with her mouth gaping. "Well just what on earth do you expect me to say in response to your sarcastic comment?" Her face reddened. "Remind me to never involve you in anything relating to fundraising ever again!"

    As you can see, rather than have each element of dialogue on a discreet line, I have kept them housed within the paragraph which has information relating to the characters thoughts/events. In contrast, I could have written it like this:

    "What a terrible morning its been," Jane complained to Ann.

    She had known the events were going to be demanding from the offset. Continuing to remove the wilting flowers from the china vases, she turned to Ann to see her reaction to the comment.

    Ann stood glaring. And with her mouth gaping.

    "Well just what on earth do you expect me to say in response to your sarcastic comment?"

    Her face reddened.

    "Remind me to never involve you in anything relating to fundraising ever again!"

    Personally, I do prefer the former method, but as I say, is it correct in literary terms, please?

    Many thanks,

    Paul
    Last edited by monsterjazzlicks; 29-Aug-2017 at 17:31. Reason: s
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  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Dedicated Paragraphs For Dialogue (help?)

    Less than ninety minutes to go – according to the canteen clock.
    I wouldn't use this punctuation.

  6. #6
    monsterjazzlicks's Avatar
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    Re: Dedicated Paragraphs For Dialogue (help?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I wouldn't use this punctuation.
    I have used this form so as to convey the fact that the duration of which the two convicts have to wait (until they are both released) is approximate.
    Mature student of GCSE English, GCSE Maths, and Level One BSL.

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