1. sslafantasie
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    sslafantasie Member

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    Formatting Help

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by sslafantasie, Oct 30, 2010.

    Forgive me if the answer to this is already posted somewhere else. I've tried the search function to no avail.
    Anyhow, I am working on a re-write. I have my dialog formated wrong, so I found out how to make that work. But the problem lies in the entire story. Is there some rules out there that works for the formating of dialog and narrative together or as a whole? I'm not talking about the 1" margins type of formatting but the actual body of the novel.
    Simply put, how do I place description to whats going on in the scene in regards to dialog and vice verse?
    Thanks for all the help in advance!
    And to the Mod...please move this to approriate place if not currently there :D
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I'm a little confused as to what you're asking. Can you clarify more?

    For dialogue, you indent a new paragraph each time a new person talks, and you put the dialogue in quotes.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This may help in terms of dialogue punctuation: He said, she said - Mechanics of Dialogue

    Most of the punctuation and grammar rules that apply to narrative apply within dialogue as well. The exceptions occur in the transitions between dialogue and narrative.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    all you have to do is open any novel and you'll see how it's done!
     
  5. sslafantasie
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    sslafantasie Member

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    Lol, sorry Mallory. I guess I was a bit flustered.
    What I was wanting to know was in regards to formating the body of the story in terms of using discriptive narration and dialogue. I have opened up books and for the most part, I seem to be on the right track. But every book seems to be formatted differently. Is there a more common formatting that I 'should' use or just keep going with what I got?
    Thanks Cog, I will check that out :)
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i can't imagine what you mean by 'differently' since the way dialog and narrative are formatted is pretty standard...

    you merely separate and indent dialog from narrative... and do the same between different characters' dialog... like this:

    i can't show indenting in a post, but each of those parts would be indented... hope this helps...
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I would amend Maia's advice - read plenty of contemporary novels. Styles change, and you will see some obsolete styles in older works.

    Also, as you are from the United States, be aware that some differences exist between US and UK standards. This includes the punctuation used for dialogue, although UK publishers are increasingly adopting the US standard in that respect. So punctuatrion you see in novels published in the UK may not be acceptable to US publishers.
     
  8. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd amend it still further. Read plenty of good-quality mainstream contemporary novels.

    Some stuff isn't well edited, and more and more stuff nowadays is, for better or worse, rather experimental.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    cog's addition's a good one...

    so is dig's, 'good-quality' addendum...

    so, to amend my own advice, it's now:

    'mainstream' isn't necessary, since good novels in any standard genre will also have dialog done the 'correct' way...
     
  10. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    The "mainstream" was to try to cover the same ground as your "standard genre". I would certainly class Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake" as "good", but it's probably not a good model for the aspiring writer. The award-winning "If nobody speaks of remarkable things" is more modern and less experimental, but it has two interleaved narratives, one of which is entirely in fragments (and if I remember correctly dialog is not marked). I love that book, but again I wouldn't suggest it as a model for an aspiring writer.
     
  11. sslafantasie
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    sslafantasie Member

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    Hi guys! Just emerging from the great NaNoWriMo! Finished first year in 11 days! I really have not life :(. On the side of that, I find that the answer I was looking for really doesn't exist. I looked through several books and seen where the general idea comes from and mammamaia: that's what I've been doing but then when I go to edit, I second guess myself then start to second guess the second guess...lol. Thanks for all the advice guys, it really helps to get some outside eyes on the topic!
     

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