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  1. #1
    alpacinoutd is offline Key Member
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    to want to say something but not say it

    How can write about a situation when a person wants to say something but they don't say it?

    Are these good?

    1. "Why didn't you call me last night?" She looked at him blankly.
    "Because I don't care about you anymore," she answered in her mind. "I was busy last night."

    2. "Why didn't you call me last night?" She looked at him blankly.
    "Because I don't care about you anymore," she almost said. "I was busy last night."

    What other options do I have?

  2. #2
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Charlie Bernstein is offline VIP Member
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    Re: to want to say something but not say it

    Quote Originally Posted by alpacinoutd View Post
    How can write about a situation when a person wants to say something but they don't say it?

    Are these good?

    1. "Why didn't you call me last night?"

    [paragraph break]

    She looked at him blankly. [no paragraph break] "Because I don't care about you anymore," she answered in her mind. "I was busy last night."

    2. "Why didn't you call me last night?"

    [paragraph break]

    She looked at him blankly. "Because I don't care about you anymore," she almost said. "I was busy last night."

    In twenty-first century writing, we only put quotation marks around words that are actually spoken aloud.


    What other options do I have?
    It's good dialogue.

    The way you had it arranged, it looked like the woman said, "Why didn't you call last night?"

    I moved "She looked at him blankly" to a fresh paragraph to show the man said it and she was reacting to the statement, not saying it herself.

    In other words, in general, give each speaker his or her own paragraph. Combining characters can confuse the reader.

    Even though he's dead, Elmore Leonard is still the reigning king of American dialogue. Study how he did it.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  3. #3
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: to want to say something but not say it

    "Because I don't care about you anymore", she said to herself.
    "Because I don't care about you anymore", she thought.

    I would use the quotation marks even though she didn't say the words aloud.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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