1. niallohagan
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    niallohagan Member

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    Dialogue and action

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by niallohagan, Mar 5, 2013.

    Should the dialogue and action be speerate in writing? eg

    "Hurry up" John said looking back over his shoulder to his younger brother

    or

    John looked back over his shoulder towards his younger brother
    "Hurry up."

    or does it matter?
     
  2. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    The difference is the timing in this sentence, i guess. From the first example i get that the question and the head turning happened at the same time, whereas the second question implies that he first turned his head and then spoke. It depends on what you want to pass on. Both are grammatically correct.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    grammar may be ok, but punctuation sure isn't...
     
  4. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    I assumed it was just because of the internet typing, since most don't bother with proper punctuation when writing online.
     
  5. niallohagan
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    niallohagan Member

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    yup, was just something I threw up quickly as an example
     
  6. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    It's okay to do it some, otherwise you get into bi/bo territory. (Maia's creation, so all credit for the idea goes to her). She calls 'breathe in, breathe out' writing bibo and that it comes from micromanaging the story. And she's absolutely correct on that.

    I've been guilty of doing it, and so are a lot of other writers, professional or otherwise. You don't want to do that with every piece of dialogue, but some works fine.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ck...
    it's actually 'breathe in/breathe out'...

    niall and xatron...
    this is a site for writers... thus it would behoove members to write like writers when posting excerpts, at least to the extent of putting commas and periods where needed, so what you write will make sense...
     
  8. A.Tad.of.Conrad
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    A.Tad.of.Conrad Member

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    The placing of the dialogue can go either way.

    "Hurry up!" John desperately called over his shoulder. His brother's stature was causing him to fall behind.

    Without breaking pace, John peeked over his shoulder. His brother's stature was causing him to fall behind.
    "Hurry up!" he desperately urged.
     
  9. jwideman
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    jwideman Senior Member

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    I cringe whenever I see an adverb used this way. If "Hurry up!" doesn't convey the desperation and urging enough, maybe the dialogue needs to be rewritten.
     
  10. A.Tad.of.Conrad
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    A.Tad.of.Conrad Member

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    Ugh, you're right. Something I need to work on.

    Come to think of it, I had unclear antecedents in my examples as well. . .
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    and i don't get the 'stature' bit at all... :confused:
     
  12. A.Tad.of.Conrad
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    A.Tad.of.Conrad Member

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    The height of a person. Length of legs affects length of stride.
     
  13. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    While that affects stride length, it doesn't speed. There are plenty of shorter people who are faster than their taller counterparts. Stature doesn't fit. Just having the character speak the way he/she did was enough to get the point across.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that... thanks for saving me the typing, ck!
     
  15. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    [QUOTE
    His brother's stature was causing him to fall behind. [/QUOTE]

    if stature means the lenght of his legs dictating the lenght of his stride, it's quite laughable, even funny... His brother's little legs causing him to fall behind... lol!
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't see anything funny about it. A person with shorter legs will fall behind, unless the tall person has a short or slow stride. Being tall myself, I often have to consciously adjust my walk if I wish a shorter companion to keep pace without getting winded. Walking alone, I do have a fairly long stride, and I walk fairly briskly.

    Longer legs don't guarantee that you cover more ground per unit of time, but they do offer an advantage.
     
  17. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    get with the beat on this

    There's no great rule to follow with this sort of thing. Just read the snippet out loud a few times and see how it sounds, and how it fits in with the context. You're creating 'beats' with dialog/action changes. Just stick with the one that sounds best. (And as Mammamaia pointed out, check the punctuation too!)
     

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