1. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    "How do you show an interruption in-"

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by funkybassmannick, Apr 17, 2013.

    How do you show an interruption in dialogue? I've seen it as one of those long dashes, but I can't seem to figure out how to type one in word or scrivener (I have a mac). Also, whenever I use a dash, the quotation mark is always swinging the wrong way.

    Any advice on the grammar/punctuation as well as general literary advice when handling interruption in dialogue? Thanks!
     
  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not sure exactly what you're looking for in your question, but are you looking for a way to key-in a long dash? One of these—?

    I, too, have a Mac. My keyboard is strange (old-fashioned) but I can get the long dash in iPages, SimpleText and my Yahoo email programme. Just hold down the Shift key at the same time as the "Apple" key (the one next to the space bar) then key-in the dash/underline key. Mess around with this, if it doesn't work for you. Shift key in combination with control, or option, then the dash/underline key. Hope it works.

    As for how to punctuate a piece of dialogue, I'm afraid I'd have to see the dialogue in question before I could help with that.
     
  3. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    You use an em dash,which isn't on most keyboards, but you can use it by copying it from an online article that uses it, and pasting it into your writing software. Here's an example from my own writing that I used to show interruption.

     
  4. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    "I have often noticed, being one to ponder upon this sort of thing from time to— "

    "Oh, shut the hell up!"
     
  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Just type two dashes. Scrivener will merge them into an m-dash. (I have Scrivener on Windows; I assume the same thing will work on a Mac.)
     
  6. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    And even if it doesn't, two dashes are now accepted as an Em-dash.
     
  7. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Excellent— Thanks guys!
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The manuscript standard is to represent an em dash by two consecutive hyphens. That isn't a new standard. It goes back to when all manuscripts were typed on mechanical typewriters.
     
  9. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Guidelines now say you can just use the em dash straight out as well, same with italics--instead of underlining when you want to display them, since as you said, these rules go back to typewriters.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Most publishers will accept italics or actual em dashes. However, the original standard is still preferred by many submissions editors. The dashes don't matter as much, but underlined text is much easier to read and to distinguish from normal text than italics, especially if you aren't using the recommended monospaced serif font.

    There are good reasons why manuscript format still favors the original typewritten standard. It really does make the editor's job easier.
     
  11. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    This says they are fine, or at least, depending on what font you are using. And isn't this for submission editors?

    http://www.shunn.net/format/story.html
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, what he says, if you read carefully, is that it is beginning to change, and to always check the individual publisher's submission guidelines. He strongly recommends Courier font, and with Courier, he says you should stick with underlining.

    Note that he uses underlining rather than italics throughout the example.
     
  13. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Just a quick question. All of you use the term 'em dash.' I've never heard that before. Is that the term for two hyphens together, as opposed to a single long dash? (We always simply called it a 'dash' (—) no matter how it was keyed in (--) as opposed to a hyphen (-). But I'm an old codger...ess!)
     
  14. Darkhorse
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    Darkhorse Member

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    It may be easier to simply copy and paste an em dash, but you can get an em dash on word (both mac and windows version) by typing a dash (-), then hitting space, then typing at least one letter, then hitting space again. After all that your regular dash will automatically turn into an em dash.

    dash > space > letter > space > em dash. Note: the initial dash cannot be starting a paragraph or be directly next to a word (i.e. g-).
     
  15. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    An em dash is the long one, an en dash is the smaller one. They are named this way because one is the size of a lowercase "m" and the other is the size of a lowercase "n."

    Two hyphens together in a manuscript works as an em dash. And most word processors will transform two hyphens into an em dash for you after you press the spacebar with something like this: --example

    Once you press the spacebar right after the word (or first letter) after the two hyphens it will transform them into an em dash.
     
  16. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    It's really easy to type an em dash just like any old word once you get the practice.

    For instance:

    John likes to go to the movies--by himself--because Jane talks the whole time.

    Right after you press the spacebar after the bold words it automatically turns the two hyphens into an em dash. You literally don't have to stop typing. It just takes a little time to get used to not pressing space after two hyphens.
     
  17. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Thanks, Jhunter! Makes sense, when it's pointed out.
     
  18. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    You also can look under symbols (in word anyway) and set it so that every time you press dash twice it automatically turns it into an em dash. That's how I did it, because mine didn't do it automatically.
     
  19. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    That is a Word Autocorrection that can be turned off
     
  20. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Is there any way to make the quotation mark curl the correct way after an em dash automatically? It always curls out, like the beginning of a dialogue, except it's at the end. I know it only takes a few seconds to type two quotation marks and delete the first (the second one curls correctly), but I would like that to be one less thing to edit.
     
  21. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    You mean like this—”

    I had to hit a letter then the quote, then delete the letter. :-\
     
  22. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Yeah, that's what I mean. It's a minor hassle, but just wondering if there's an alternative.
     
  23. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I haven't figured this one out. I have just gotten used to replacing them without thinking about it. But, if someone knows how, I would be delighted to have the information as well.
     
  24. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I know, but I don't want to turn it off. I use em dashes in my manuscript.
     

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