1. SayWhatNow?
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    SayWhatNow? Senior Member

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    I Wish I'd Known That Earlier!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by SayWhatNow?, Nov 20, 2009.

    In the last few chapters of Monster Blood Tattoo, there was a diologue going on between Rossamund (orphan) and Withscrawl (perma-pissed accountant).

    Rossamund walks up to Witherscrawl and hands him a piece of paper for transportation verification. Witherscrawl looks up and says the following (Direct quote):

    ' "Not me, boy! Over there," the man spat out. '

    While reading the actual diologue, I imagined it as a more friendly exclamation, and then came to find out that it was anything but.

    My question is if it is considered a good technique to put the diologue description (if any) before the diologue, or if it doesn't matter at all.
     
  2. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    To me, novels are often more cumulative than specifically chronological. Rather than deriving tone and intent from specific sentences and then constructing those sentences into a disparate correspondence of conflicting and contradictory tones and ideas, I find it's more effective to consider all of the disparate ideas and images within a sentence/paragraph as a unified whole. It may mean you need to reread certain passages or allow a little more room in your interpretation, but it is certainly more rewarding. If you interpret the text on a word by word basis, then the kinds of textual conflicts you described occur, while if you allow the ideas within the text to gradually accumulate and come into focus, the resulting image is all the more effective and complete. I write with this philosophy too; my work is much less about a definite, steady forward flow than it is about the gradual accumulation of images and ideas into a cohesive unit of text.
     
  3. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    In general, when the quote starts, the new paragraph starts, but there times when you can get away with not doing that.
     
  4. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    There are times I want the action to come before the dialog.

    Jack slammed his hand on the desk and it boomed in the tiny office. "Get out."
     
  5. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    Yes, I agree entirely.

    "Well, just leave," Gilder sneered.
    Then, the 'Gilder sneered' doesn't even seem effective because I have already read it with a particular inflection.

    Gilder sneered, "Well, just leave."

    BAM! A thousand times more efficacious.
     
  6. Smithy
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    Smithy Senior Member

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    As shown by the fact that I had to read it three times to understand it:D

    Seriously, I think that if it isn't going to be obvious from the wording what the delivery is like, put the delivery first. However the reverse is also true, sometimes the delivery is so obvious that trying to explain ends up with inanities like '"Sorry," apologised Brom.'
     

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