1. Nikita88
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    Nikita88 Member

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    Dialog description questions (ie. "Hi," he said. "What's up?")

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Nikita88, Feb 27, 2009.

    Ok I suffer greatly from the misuse of dialog descriptions. The following examples are all of the different types I can think of. Please correct/comment on the punctuation/capitalization for each so I know if I'm doing it right (doubtful)!

    1. "Hi," he said. "What's up?"
    2. "Go away." He said.
    3. He began to speak, "what is your problem?"
    4. "When can we go eat?" he said. "I'm starving."
    5. "I'm going to kill you!" he said. "Go away."
    6. "When can we-" he stopped, realizing that his dog was dead.
    7. "Hi." He said. "What's up?"

    Those obviously aren't real sentences from any story... just trying to keep it simple. Thanks :)
     
  2. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've put in red the ones I know for sure. Number 3 is written awkwardly, so I'm not sure how to correct it. I'm not sure about #6.

     
  3. Nikita88
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    Nikita88 Member

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    Excellent! Thank you marina :)
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I have a blog entry on this topic: He said, she said - Mechanics of Dialogue.

    I won't correct your specific examples for you - I hope this isn't a school assignment.
     
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  5. Nikita88
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    Nikita88 Member

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    PERFECT!!! Thank you! Lol not for schoolwork (I'm not in school right now :p), just for the piece I'm currently working on... Has a lot of dialog and I'm pretty sure I do it wrong half the time

    Thanks again, that is a great post
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    by 'dialog descriptions' i'll assume you meant 'dialog tags' or 'attribution'... they're not called 'descriptions' as far as i know...

    1. "Hi," he said. "What's up?"
    ...ok...

    2. "Go away." He said.
    ...not ok... should be comma and lower case 'h'...

    3. He began to speak, "what is your problem?"
    ...not ok... should be period after 'speak' and capital 'w'...

    4. "When can we go eat?" he said. "I'm starving."
    ...ok...

    5. "I'm going to kill you!" he said. "Go away."
    ...ok...

    6. "When can we-" he stopped, realizing that his dog was dead.
    ...not ok... single hyphen should be double, to indicate em dash, 'h' should be a capital...

    7. "Hi." He said. "What's up?"
    ...not ok... first period should be a '!' and 'h' lower case...
     
  7. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nikita88,

    Here is an article that I wrote on the topic which you're struggling with: Dialogue Basics

    Hopefully it'll answer questions you have now and some that may occur in the future.

    Terry
     
  8. Chiwah
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    Chiwah New Member

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    #1 ;)
    #2 should be: "Go away," he said.
    #3 should be: He began to speak. "What is your problem?"
    #4 is correct, though I would use "asked" instead of "said."
    #5 ;)
    #6 should be: "When can we—" He stopped, realizing his dog was dead.
    #7 should be: "Hi," he said. "What's up?"
    Or you could write, "Hi," he said, "what's up?"
     

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