1. Passero
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    Passero Member

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    Dialogue formatting

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Passero, Feb 14, 2015.

    I just looked into a book that takes about dialogue (Dialogue, busy writer's guide book 3).
    The very first thing they explain is the formatting of dialogue.
    The book says that each new speaker should start a new paragraph with following example:

    They show the wrong version:

    And the correct version:

    When reading this, I started to look into a few books I've been reading recently and almost none of them use dialogue formatting as described above. They rarely create a new paragraph for a new speaker. It usually continues.

    I read a few other topics on this forum that also advocate for new paragraphs for new speakers so I am just wondering...

    Wouldn't a publisher notice this and let the author correct these mistakes or is it actually a preference from the publisher for some reason?

    Or is the "create paragraph per speaker" theory more personal instead of a proper writing style rule?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    What books are you reading? It would strike me as extremely odd and rare for a single paragraph to contain the dialogue of more than one speaker. I've seen it, for artistic effect, but it is not the norm in my experience at all.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    That was my question too.
     
  4. Passero
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    Passero Member

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    I double checked and must say I was wrong...
    I was reading on my kindle and I have been looking for some examples and noticed that there are many where the sentence ends at the end of the screen so it looks like it's one continues paragraph.
    Upon further investigation I notice that they do use the paragraph correctly and I am totally wrong.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2015
  5. Kasubi
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    Kasubi Member

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    Ah, the curse of the Kindle.

    (Though I still love 'em).

    If you don't start a new line in the sentence above, it's still Sarah speaking. She's looking for Ella to tell her she still needs another ten minutes.

    If the speaker is undertaking action between dialogue - same line.

    If the speaker switches - new line.

    Example:

    "Would you like to ride the wild elephant?" Frank asked, raising an eyebrow salaciously at June. "You'd get off on it."

    v.

    "Would you like to ride the wild elephant?" Frank asked, raising an eyebrow salaciously at June.
    "You'd get off on it."
    June rose from the bar stool, poured her cocktail over Frank's bald head, and made for the door.
     
  6. Lilith_Duat
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    Lilith_Duat Member

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    Don't delete the post. Amend your original post with an explanation of your error so others can learn from it.
     

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