1. Blips
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    Blips Member

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    Dialog formatting and grammar

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Blips, Sep 21, 2010.

    My largest challenge so far has been attempting to properly format and adhere to the rules of grammar when dealing with dialog. The issue is even worse since my story has been fairly dialog heavy so far (including a fair amount of internal).

    I've read that dialog should placed within its own paragraph and yet I've seen countless examples of dialog mid-paragraph.

    Should each line of dialog have its own paragraph, or should a new paragraph be started only when the speaker changes?

    Should internal dialog follow the same rules of spoken dialog? Currently all the internal dialog is presented without quotes but is italicized.

    I also have a few instances where spoken / internal dialog is interrupted by others or events. I'm currently signifying an interruption by using dashes. Ex:
    "I'm talking about something really inter-" some interrupting action.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. I can't say for sure but I think (other than research) a large portion of my time is being taken up by wrestling with the dialog presentation.
     
  2. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Our Mod team has an excellent staple response for your question: http://www.writingforums.org/blog.php?b=294

    Good luck.
     
  3. Blips
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    Blips Member

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    Ah beautiful. I did do a search on the boards before posting but I guess that doesn't cover blog posts.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Really? How did you miss all the threads under Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar, including this one, active as recent as yesterday?
     
  5. Blips
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    Blips Member

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    I didn't miss that thread, but his question wasn't largely related to my question.

    Edit: according to the blog posting, it is considered bad practice to use italicized text to represent internal dialog. But according to other sources it is considered perfectly normal to express internal dialog in this manner. I've also read multiple books (most recent being Under the Dome by Stephen King) where internal dialog is represented by italic text.
     
  6. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    The blog post also says that the point is controversial, and that the mainstream tend to prefer not to italicise internal dialogue. It varies per style guide and per publishing house, and, if you're an established author, per author preference. What you should definitely do is be consistent in your approach, and, unless you know differently, approach internal dialogue as Cogito advises.
     

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