1. Sennett
    Offline

    Sennett New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2016
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    1

    Alternative. For. This. In. Dialogue.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Sennett, Jun 5, 2016.

    So I'm trying to write this piece of dialogue, and I want to show the way the speaker emphasizes each separate word.

    The line of dialogue: "No matter what delusions you might have about it, you don't belong here." (The issue only applies to the last four words.)

    You might be familiar with the way many people on the internet do this. They. Place. A. Full. Stop. Behind. Every. Word. It's okay on social media and such, but I find it (no offense) tacky in a novel. It has the desired effect, but I'm looking for something more 'formal'. I hope to hear your suggestions.
     
  2. Steerpike
    Offline

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,051
    Likes Received:
    5,255
    Location:
    California, US
    I've seen the full stop in novels, and it works ok. Another easy way is to simply note in a beat or dialogue tag that the speaker is emphasizing every word.
     
    Sifunkle, Witchymama and izzybot like this.
  3. izzybot
    Offline

    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    848
    Likes Received:
    932
    Location:
    SC, USA
    I can see using the full stops, honestly, but if that's not your thing, I'd do something like:
    Using the italics should indicate that you only mean those words.

    (Basically, what @Steerpike said.)
     
    Witchymama likes this.
  4. Lea`Brooks
    Offline

    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    2,610
    Likes Received:
    1,712
    Location:
    Virginia, United States
    I've also seen:

    "...you don't belong here," she said, punctuating each word.
     
    Witchymama likes this.
  5. Midge23
    Offline

    Midge23 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2015
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    44
    Location:
    UK
    I would go for something visual like:

    'No matter what delusions you might have about it.' He turned and squared up to her. 'You don't belong here.' Each word was hurled at her, all finding their mark.

    Or some other variation. Probably a lot will come down to style as to which is the best fit for you.
     
    Witchymama likes this.
  6. Witchymama
    Offline

    Witchymama Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2016
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    187
    I use the full stops. But italics would work, too.
     
    LinnyV likes this.
  7. LinnyV
    Offline

    LinnyV Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2015
    Messages:
    690
    Likes Received:
    991
    I've seen the full stops in novels and I think if it is used rarely and carefully (only 2-4words to set the right tone), then it is great. The periods give an added effect that italics do not for me. It's not just a strong emphasis. It's denoting a distinct pause.

    I've seen one of my authors use it on one occasion and she has over 10 books in her series. Was perfectly fine from memory, and I love her voice because she is expressive. Her books would also appeal to a younger audience I think.

    I don't think it is tacky generally. It's no different than people using dashes to create an interruption in dialogue. Where similarly, if used too much, is a distraction and appears tacky.
     
  8. Sennett
    Offline

    Sennett New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2016
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thank you so much for all your replies. I didn't expect so many answers in less than 24 hours. Definitely a good first experience with this site.

    As for the question, I might still go with the full stops as some of you suggested or use italics and clarify the emphasis in a dialogue tag.
     
  9. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,504
    Likes Received:
    1,337
    "No matter what delusions you might have," he said, and then slowed down to speak each word clearly, "you do not belong here."

    In particular, remove the elision from don't.
     
  10. Seraph751
    Offline

    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2016
    Messages:
    555
    Likes Received:
    372
    Location:
    Texas
    I would say "No matter what delusions you might have about it, you do not belong here."
     
  11. Elven Candy
    Offline

    Elven Candy Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2016
    Messages:
    285
    Likes Received:
    171
    The full stop thing just looks weird to me and I can't help but read it robotically or skip over it the first couple times I read it. I don't think I ever really knew why a person put the full stops in until I read this thread (thanks for letting me know!). I much prefer italics. When something like that is in italics, I naturally read it the way you want it read: with every word having a meaning and being said with emphasis, but without my brain pausing and driving me crazy trying to put a sentence of words together while also trying to separate them.

    Would I stop reading a novel because of a full stop emphasis, or would it ruin the overall experience of the novel? Nope! I might go, "Um, okay, that was a little weird," but if it's not in there a lot, I'll deal with it and move on (if it's in there a lot and I'm really into the story, I'll be annoyed with the author but continue reading). Do whatever suits your style and tell the readers like me to like it or lump it--just don't go overboard;).

    Edited to add ALL CAPS can have the same effect. Just don't put an exclamation point at the end, or the readers will think the person's just shouting.
     

Share This Page