1. Mike Cornelison
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    Mike Cornelison New Member

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    About to say, seemed to say and then words finally spoken

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Mike Cornelison, May 4, 2012.

    I have a passage that goes from an "about to say," to a "seemed to say," to the words finally spoken.

    ~~~ He was about to say, "Trust me, you don't have to worry anything about how you look," but then he remembered that smile and the bemused look in her eyes that seemed to say, "Yeah, I know what you're up to. I'm on to your game," so instead he went with, "Don't worry, it's a freakin' telemarketing job, have you seen how half the people roll in all hungover from the night before?" ~~~

    Seemed to me it should be rolled all into one paragraph, am I right?

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  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    One paragraph, yes. But not one sentence.
  3. Mike Cornelison
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    Mike Cornelison New Member

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    Got it, thanks.

    The "He said, she said" article was very helpful too, so thanks for that, although I just have to willfully ignore the one convention of not putting thoughts in quotes. At least for me, my own thoughts are just as clear and plainly spoken as any dialog, so the quotes seem appropriate.

    Thanks again for the help.
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    they may seem appropriate to you, for thoughts, but they won't to agents/editors/publishers... so, if you want to sell your writings, better hew to the rules 'n regs...
  5. Mike Cornelison
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    Mike Cornelison New Member

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    Oh wow, well that's the only thing that matters when you get right down to it. *serious* Hmmm . . . so with that particular paragraph, it's still "about to say" and "seemed to say," so it's not exactly a thought so much as dialog unspoken, would you go with the three quotations there as I did or would you remove some of those quotes?
  6. Trilby
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    Trilby Senior Member Contributor

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    Dialogue unspoken is thoughts in my book.
  7. Mike Cornelison
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    Mike Cornelison New Member

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    You may be right there, but it's hard for me to picture that paragraph being readable without the three sets of quotes. Maybe I just need to tell myself to STFU and conform.
  8. madhoca
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    madhoca Senior Member Contributor

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    I don't go with one paragraph there, it's way too much hard work to read. Why not just break it a bit, and conform to the rules, as you say? I would also reword to avoid the repeat of 'say'.

    Trust me, you don't have to worry anything about how you look, he was about to say. Then he remembered that smile and the bemused look in her eyes. It seemed to say, (tell him?) Yeah, I know what you're up to. I'm on to your game.

    So instead he went with, "Don't worry, it's a freakin' telemarketing job, have you seen how half the people roll in all hungover from the night before?"
  9. Mike Cornelison
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    Mike Cornelison New Member

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    That is so much easier to read! The way you have it laid out, it also makes me not miss the quotes, either. Good point on "say" getting overused as well. Thanks, big time!
  10. madhoca
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    madhoca Senior Member Contributor

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    ^^ You're welcome!
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    a line of dialog that follows 'seemed to say' or 'about to say' is still considered dialog, even if it hasn't been spoken yet... it's not thoughts...
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