1. jpaulsnow
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    jpaulsnow New Member

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    Final Draft Fail

    Discussion in 'Software' started by jpaulsnow, Apr 1, 2010.

    I purchased Final Draft version 7 about 4 years ago or so, and when I saw it had a novel template today I thought "This will be great!"

    Hardly. I pasted the work into the document and it didn't do its usual magic that it would with a screenplay.

    I came to realize that I lack the understanding of novel writing format, which creates an irony in that I now must write a novel (here) to write a novel (the actual work).

    From what I gather there must be a rule of thumb about quotes. They seem to demand a new indented line of their own, but I am seeing that they can often share the remainder of this line with the "said the dude" or "he retorted angrily" portion of the text. Yes I'm sure there's some literary name for that, and no I do not recall what it is.

    One problem I have is I can not find the definitive advisory on the rules of this practice. This is further troubled by the fact that I interlace precursory versions of this: such as (Angered by his reply the captain said, "This is my ship and I won't have some deck swabbing ensign telling me how to do my job!")

    If I were to say that in a book, what would it look like?

    This:

    <tab>"...but, sir! The crew needs rest and we can no longer perform our duties properly. We are only human you know?", the sailor squawked.

    Angered by his reply the captain said, "This is my ship and I won't have some deck swabbing ensign telling me how to do my job!"

    Or perhaps this:

    <tab>"...but, sir! The crew needs rest and we can no longer perform our duties properly. We are only human you know?", the sailor squawked.

    <tab>Angered by his reply the captain said, "This is my ship and I won't have some deck swabbing ensign telling me how to do my job!"


    I'm certain the lot of you probably know where I need to go to straighten myself out on this.

    I await your reply, and thank you in advance.

    J.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It isn't a matter of indents, really. Every change of speaker should begin a new paragraph; in standard manuscript format, each paragraph begins with a half-inch indent.

    It's called a dialogue tag, often abbreviated as a tag. You can also have an action taken by the speaker embedded between pieces of dialogue, and that is called a beat. For example, in this dialogue sample:
    The sentence Walker glanced at the girl is a beat. It creates a pause in the dialogue and also ties the conversation to what is taking place in the scene. A beat can also occur before or after a scrap of dialogue -- you don't have to have dialogue on both sides.

    This may help: He said, she said - Mechanics of Dialogue

    Final Draft is for scripts. There is no point in using it for novel manuscripts. You're better off using a word processor. Most publishers will expect electronic copies of manuscripts to be in Microsoft Word format.
     
  3. jpaulsnow
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    jpaulsnow New Member

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    Yes, this certainly did help.

    I do however find myself being a tad overzealous about the use of tabs now.

    I may need to have someone critique my sentence structure and use of indentation/paragraph size.

    I believe I was reverting to the only form of writing I ever knew besides screenplays, which was essay style.

    BIG PARAGRAPH OF FIVE SENTENCES (including all quotes)

    BIG PARAGRAPH OF FIVE SENTENCES (including all quotes)

    etc etc etc.

    Now that I've broken the flow up quite a bit (if not too much) it's definitely a more enjoyable read.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    all you need do to learn how to do it is READ novels by decent writers and SEE how it's done...
     
  5. jmar2
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    jmar2 Member

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    And do be careful using TABS. Please. Pretty please.

    Tabs insert special characters into the manuscript that make it difficult to convert into other formats. Depending on your word processor, use the format tab to set up the rule that all paragraphs automatically start at .5 inches.

    In WORD for example, the Format tab opens up into FONTS, PARAGRAPHS, etc. Click on PARAGRAPHS and a box appears that allows you to specify criteria to be followed for all paragraphs. One such criteria is Indentation. There's a box there titled "Special" One of the options is "First Line"

    Click that and set "By" to +.5 and then every time you start a new paragraph it indents correctly.

    My two cents anyway.

    John
     

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