1. CyberFD
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    CyberFD Member

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    Ending a chapter with dialogue

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by CyberFD, Jul 15, 2013.

    The title basically says it all. Is it a no-no or is it acceptable?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It's perfectly fine. It needs to answer to the same paradigm as anything else that closes a chapter in that it needs to feel like break.
     
  3. ScottPCarroll
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    ScottPCarroll New Member

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    I think it's fine. As long as it's not the punch line to a joke. That makes me die a little inside every time I see it.

    I actually read on someone's blog that the best advice they ever got was to take out the first and last paragraph of every chapter they wrote. I don't use that as a 'rule' per se but I have to admit I usually try it just to see if it works. A lot of times I just tack on that last paragraph to make things pretty and it ends up ruining everything. Could be the same with dialogue.
     
  4. u.v.ray
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    u.v.ray Member

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    Personally, I am a little surprised I keep seeing these can you do this or can you do that type of questions here.

    You can do anything. The question is whether you as the author make it work for the story you're telling.
     
  5. u.v.ray
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    u.v.ray Member

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    Funny you should say that. My publisher recently sent back my forthcoming novel with some edits to see what I thought. One thing he did was to remove the first paragraph and transplant it to somewhere else near the very end of the book. And it works better.

    Myself, I would not have even seen that potential.
     
  6. Steve Day
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    Steve Day Senior Member

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    Why not- if it works.

    Here's Elmore Leonard ending a chapter of Pronto:

    (Raylan on the phone)
    "You tell them it's urgent?"
    "Call me tomorrow," Torres said.
    "I'm checking out in the next ten minutes," Raylan said. "If all goes well I'll call you from Harry's villa."

    Key words are urgent, and if all goes well. A page turner.
     
  7. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    If it leaves you wanting more, or stumps you with a philosophical point or question, then sure. If it just ends, then unless there is a reason, it will feel empty.
     
  8. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It sounds like you need to read more...
     
  9. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    Dialogue can be a very useful tool for Chapter ending. It can leave the reader in a state of suspense in ways non-dialogue cannot.

    Our first date at the zoo had gone wonderfully. We watched bears playing and meercats hugging in the warm, dappled sunlight.

    It was all going perfectly until she said "Is that my husb- We should go!"
     
  10. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Like others said. Yes, ending a chapter with dialogue is not a problem. It's done all the time.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that!
     
  12. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, it's bizarre that people continue to ask these kind of questions.
     
  13. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    I think these questions go back to the education system (I wrote a discussion on this awhile back) and how they teach English. Most people are browbeat from K-University with rules for formal English, therefore they develop a fear of stepping outside the box. That's why I ask these type of questions anyway.
     
  14. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    True. And I suppose it is understandable to have new people coming in and asking these sorts of things, for the reasons you state or just because of a general feeling of uncertainty. Sometimes, though, you'll see the same people asking these questions over and over again no matter how many times it is pointed out that you can do what you like, so long as you do it effectively.

    It is better to provide an example of what you're trying to do, and let people critique that and give you their opinion as to whether it was effective or not.
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You can end a paragraph with dialogue. Nearly any paragraph can end a scene, including one which ends with dialogue. Any scene can end a chapter.

    QED
     
  16. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Exactly.
     
  17. Luna13
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    Luna13 Active Member

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    I think it's perfectly acceptable and is used often, just don't get carried away and end every single chapter with dialogue, or create unnecessary dialogue just for the purpose of ending chapters. Chapters can being or end with dialogue, but it really bugs me when people begin or end their entire book with dialogue. That just seems lazy to me.
     
  18. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    I once ended a chapter with a punctuation mark.
    It went,"She smiled, twirled the ring,"

    and in the next chapter I completed the sentence. It was cool, but a one-trick pony.
     
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry, but as both a reader and an editor, that pony's trick wouldn't amuse or impress me in the least... the critter would be hustled out the stable door...
     

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