1. MJ Preston
    Offline

    MJ Preston Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    3

    Dialogue placement

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by MJ Preston, Apr 25, 2010.

    I'm banging away on the keys tonight and I suddenly ran into an issue with dialogue. Here's the situation I'm faced with. Let me run an example then I'll pose my question.

    Example

    He reached down and picked the map, drawing his finger down the blue interstate line to the small circle that marked the town: Seljar. "This is the place." he said. "This where they took him and....." His hand was shaking now, the map folded under his tightening of his grip.

    Okay that is the example, it is not an actual piece, but something off the top of my head, but a story I am working on has a structure similar to this. So my question is: Can you drop dialogue into the middle of a paragraph like this if the actions relate to the dialogue.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Yes, as long as the preceding and following action and the embedded dialogue are closely bound, and the actions are those of the person speaking the dialogue.

    However, I would still be inclined to put a paragraph break after Seljar. Why? because it gives more power to the dialogue, gives it greater prominance in the paragraph.
     
  3. MJ Preston
    Offline

    MJ Preston Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    3
    First, thanks for answering my question.

    Second, normally I would do that, but with the flow of the story I want to avoid adding unnecessary paragraph breaks. The flow of dialogue in the case of my story involves an exchange between a man and his friend. Thus, both of their exchanges are already separted by paragraph breaks. With descriptive context added to the dialogue I want to avoid ending up with what might look like a bunch bullets running down a page.

    That is why I really wanted to know if you could wrap dialogue in a paragraph like that.

    Thanks Cogito
     
  4. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Readers expect frequent paragraph breaks in passages with a lot of dialogue.
     
  5. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    i second all cog had to say on the subject... burying dialog in the middle of narrative is not usually a good idea and will generally annoy readers more than having the dialog separated, which is what we're used to seeing/reading...
     
  6. MJ Preston
    Offline

    MJ Preston Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    3
    Okay, point noted on both your parts.

    Thanks
     

Share This Page