1. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    Better Way? (example included)

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by FrankABlissett, Dec 13, 2010.

    I'm trying to have the narrator and some of the dialog step on each other. Not satisfied with how it looks though. Worse to worst, I can undo it, but I'd love to keep the effect.

    ++++

    "Well, I - I haven't decided, I guess, actually, if I was even going to go out."

    "Oh, that's a load of bull! You'll be going to the party. If you don't want to take her out, that's okay. Just say so..."

    And that means...

    "...and our girlfriends will come up with someone for her."

    ...she'll make sure I look like a jerk to all the girls I am interested in.

    ++++

    I intend the 2nd and 3rd quotes to be the same person, but was worried tags would affect the pacing.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    Is the phrase "And that means..." part of your original text? If it is, it is weird and out of place, and hence, probably a bad idea to have it.

    As a rule, unless interrupted by another speaker, quote 2 and 3 should be within the same quote and hence, in the same paragraph.

    You can have them in separate quotes, separated by dialogue tags or action, even then it has to be in the same paragraph.

    Noticed also that I have removed the ellipses in the second example.
     
  3. xxkozxx
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    xxkozxx Active Member

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    Without much more to go on than this snippit I would change the two bottom quotes from direct to indirect quotes. This may work better to get your point across.

    For Example:

    "Well, I - I haven't decided, I guess, actually, if I was even going to go out."

    "Oh, that's a load of bull! You'll be going to the party. If you don't want to take her out, that's okay. Just say so."

    This really meant that our girlfriends will come up with someone for her and she'll make sure I look like a jerk to all the girls I am interested in.
     
  4. Edward G
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    Edward G Banned

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    I've read and re-read your passage and I simply don't get it. I can't tell who's talking. You can try to break the conventions of storytelling, like having the narrator insert comments inbetween dialog, but readers may give up trying to figure it out.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    first of all, why do you want the narrator to intrude on the story, in effect breaking the fourth wall by addressing the readers directly?...

    and who's the narrator supposed to be?... one of the characters?... or a neutral observer?...

    and what tense is the action part of the narrative in?

    i seriously doubt you can pull off such a reader-confusing technique, but it can't hurt to try... imo, though this can work in a movie, i don't think it's doable in prose... have you seen it done successfully by any respected authors?
     
  6. SRCroft
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    SRCroft Member

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    If its an argument with your character vs. Himself/herself... there is kind of a way to do it. Your dialogue is confusing so I am not sure, it was just a guess that it might be your idea:

    If I am right:
    Try giving the argumentative portion of his own mind a personality.

    "Hello."
    "Hello." the voice in my mind answered.

    I mean, without any kind of dialogue tag, order, and lots of paragraph breaks you are sending mixed signals without clues to why.
     
  7. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    @ Koz,
    That's pretty much the way I would normally write what I intended.

    @ Edward,
    And you're right regarding what I was trying to accomplish. Wasn't working like I had hoped though, so posted here to get the perspective of others.

    @ Mama,
    Indeed, I was looking at addressing the reader, the narrator being the character with the first quote.

    Basically, "A" speaks, then as "B" is speaking A is addressing the reader. It's something where I have a fuzzy idea in my head, but it's not coming out right on paper. I can't think of encountering it elsewhere in prose (though I may have), so can't really see how others have tackled the idea. More so, it's inspired by screenplays breaking the fourth wall - which (Darn It!) isn't translating over to prose.

    If needs be, I'll just put it in the back of my brain for later, and write this story more traditionally.

    -Frank
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is the story first person?

    If it is it is easier to write this. I would personally do it as follows -

    "Well, I - I haven't decided, I guess, actually, if I was even going to go out."

    "Oh, that's a load of bull! You'll be going to the party. If you don't want to take her out, that's okay. Just say so ..."

    And by that he/she/you mean?

    "...and our girlfriends will come up with someone for her."

    You mean so she can make sure I look like a jerk to all the girls I am interested in.
     

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