1. Arrow
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    Arrow New Member

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    how to format Fiction Dialogue?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Arrow, Mar 9, 2009.

    Is there a standard format for writing dialogue in fiction? I'm not asking how to write dialogue nor how to punctuate it.

    I've been keeping my dialogue single-spaced, in contrast to double-spacing the narrative. I also use additional indentation (10 spaces to offset the dialogue). Is this the correct style?

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    I'm wondering if different publishers require their own variations on formatting for novels; perhaps short story follows the same stylistic considerations as a novel?
  2. Edge
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    Edge New Member

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    I don't know first had, but I would think that any formatting would be fine. It would seem to me that you are their meal ticket. They stand to make a lot of money off your book, so they should be willing to work with what you have. Further more, if something dose need to be changed, formatting wise, to fit with their, book size and layout, chances are they will make it. At least I think they would, we can't type out the pages so that they fit their pages, after all.
  3. KP Williams
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    KP Williams New Member

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    Do not use an extra indentation to offset dialogue, especially if you plan on trying to get it published. That kind of thing will scream amateur, unless the publisher asks for such a thing to be done. I've never been published, but from the testimonies of many people who have seen their works put to the presses, the publisher's guidelines are more like rules. You either do things how they want them to be done, or find someone else.

    Also, keep everything double spaced if you're planning on publishing. If you're not planning to publish, then do things however you want to. Personally, it seems like a needless bother to me. :rolleyes:
  4. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 New Member

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    I've never heard of dialogue being formatted any differently from the rest of the story. This is new to me. I'd just format it like the rest of it. *shrug*
  5. Rei
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    Rei New Member Contributor

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    Where did you get the idea that you format dialogue differently than any other part of the text in a novel? The only think you do is put quotation marks around it, no special indentations or anything like that. It's in screen/stage plays that you see a formating difference between dialogue and the rest of the text.
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    What you are referring to with the indenting is a block quote. It is usually used fo quoting a lengthy passage from another work, not for dialogue.

    I have a primer on dialogue formatting here: He said, she said - Mechanics of Dialogue.
  7. Arrow
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    Arrow New Member

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    Thanks for the clarifications on formatting dialogue; and, yes, I was thinking about blocking passages derived from someone else's text through additional indenting.

    I do know that with each subsequent character speaking their should be a new paragraph that's indented. (Unless someone tells me something quite different.)
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Supporter Contributor

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    the entire ms must be double-spaced... that includes any blocked sections...
  9. Howdy
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    Howdy New Member

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    Just stick to the conventional rules. If you do anything tricky it is ONLY because the publisher requests it in their guidelines.

    Remember, it's all about looking professional and formating your manuscript in a way that is comfortable for the EDITOR to read.
  10. traffic101
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    traffic101 New Member

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    I would concentrate on writing the story with the dialogue. Than when you submit it, each publisher has their own formatting style, so go with what they want. The trick is to write your story and format it after.

    I've gone through this process and never had a problem with formating my dialogue differently.
  11. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Member

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    If you read fiction, you really shouldn't have a problem understanding what format is required.
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Supporter Contributor

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    reading fiction won't help in knowing how to format a ms, other than how to indent and show dialog...
  13. Arrow
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    Arrow New Member

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    :(
    Please read mama's nonfiction text above!
  14. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Member

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    Tut, tut...

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