1. SWriter
    Offline

    SWriter Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2011
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0

    Indenting first paragraphs with speach

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by SWriter, Jul 14, 2011.

    So normally your first paragraph would look something like this. It has no indent untill the next paragraph.
    Like this. So then if you were to have a space to indicate a time or place jump you would need to have another indent free paragraph.​



    like this. But what happens if the first paragraph is dialouge (which is usually indented)


    "Do I leave it indent free?" I ask him.
    "Not sure, what is the other way of doing it?" he asked. I took a while to think about it.​





    "I guess it could be done like this." I said the next day.​
    "why not ask the people on the writing forum, they should know" he said




    ----- Quite hard to format properly on a forum.
     
  2. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Forum formatting is a matter of expediency.

    In a manuscript, the first line of each paragraph is indented about half an inch, regardless of whether it is dialogue or narrative. The rest of the paragraph is not indented, and there are no blank lines sweparating paragraphs (other than that the entire manuscript is double-spaced).
     
  3. SWriter
    Offline

    SWriter Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2011
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    yup yup but i mean the very first paragraph. in a block of text/paragraphs the very first one isnt indented. does that apply to dialouge also?
     
  4. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    As I said, every paragraph, whether it is dialogue or not, follows the same indentation rules.

    Where did you get the notion that this is not the case?
     
  5. thewordsmith
    Offline

    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2009
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    124
    Location:
    State of Confusion
    Y'know, upon reading your post I considered that you may not be American and so I allowed that your rules of grammar may well be different than those with which so many of us here grew up. But, try as I might, I have been unable to find any data recommending the first paragraph line unindented with all following paragraph lines being indented.

    While I do know a fellow from Williamsburg, Virginia who does use that format, and thus it may be a regional peculiarity, I have never seen it as a standard form. There are two standard forms of writing. One is the block form, in which none of the lines are indented. This is not generally used in fiction writing so we can move along to the second standard. Indented format.

    In the case of the indented form, the first line of every paragraph is indented (usually about half an inch). All subsequent lines in each paragraph are not indented. This holds true for fiction as well as for formal writing for other purposes. This also holds true for dialogue in fiction. the first line of every paragraph is indented .

    If you look at most any book fiction or non-fiction, you will likely find this format.

    Okay. So now I am moved to consider if you are referring to some form of illuminated writing (as in most Bibles) or in some magazines and newspapers where you will find an overlarge first letter or word. That overlarge type may be flush with the left margin while the rest of the article is not. This is not standard form and should be ignored. Even as a journalist, this is something a typesetter will deal with according to a publication's style requirements.
     
  6. SWriter
    Offline

    SWriter Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2011
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    every book I read the first line of the first paragraph is not indented. The following is a clip from trudi canavan's the ambassadors mission starting halfway through a secontion:

    (indented) But that was someone else's concern now. As the carriage moved past the last of the houses and out onto the North Road, Dannyl nodded to himself. His and Lorkin's future lay ahead of them, in the ancient land of Sachaka.

    (gap before next section.... page break i think its called)

    (not indented) The Good Company was one of the largest bolhouses in the south of the city. As Cery and Gol walked in, they were buffeted blah blah blah lots more writing untill..
    (indented) we reach the next paragraph. then lots more writing follows on.



    this is the same throughout the book as it is in every book i have pulled off my book shelves.
     
  7. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Do not confuse typesetting with manuscript. Indenting the first block in a book, or magazine is for visual effect only, and has nothing to do with the content.
     
  8. SWriter
    Offline

    SWriter Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2011
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    in which case i think im confused.... what am I talking about?
     
  9. thewordsmith
    Offline

    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2009
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    124
    Location:
    State of Confusion
    Well I have checked out the book you referenced. The only two instances where I can see a first line of paragraph not indented is 1) Illumination: The first letter of the first word is several font sizes larger than the rest of the type and the paragraph is not indented. This, as mentioned before, is a typesetting affectation and should be ignored in your own manuscript formatting; and 2) a paragraph continues from one page to the next. This can be confusing if the paragraph section stops on one page at the end of a sentence and begins on the next page at the beginning of the next sentence. Although this may look like the beginning of a new paragraph, the word flow indicates it is still a continuation of the paragraph begun on the previous page.

    Hope we haven't totally confused you here but the recommendation remains.

    First line of a paragraph, including dialog separated as a new paragraph, should be indented.
    All remaining lines of the same paragraph should not be indented.
    When starting a new paragraph, indent.
     
  10. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    I believe potty_white is thinking of a drop cap, which is an oversized initial character, "dropped" into a space preceding two or more lines.

    This is an example of a drop cap:

    [​IMG]

    Drop caps only appear in a final publication. They have no place in manuscripts.
     
  11. lemurkat
    Offline

    lemurkat Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Dangit! I just noticed this too. And since I've recently self-published my manuscript with the first line of each passage indented I am now facing the desire to alter it all to look more professional. But only if there's any actual typos still left in it (I'm up to the third proof copy).

    So... in published books, and for those of you that are self-publishing, this is probably the way it should be formatted.
    (indent)Like this passage is.
    (indent)Of course. If you are submitting a manuscript to a publisher you could probably indent the first sentence of the passage as well.
    (indent)I am wondering why this was not mentioned during my "writing for children" course, but maybe that was because they were not expecting us to go forth and self-publish our own novels but to go through all the rigmarole of a publisher.
     
  12. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    a manuscript is not a book!

    books may not have indented first paragraphs, but manuscripts you intend to submit to paying publishers must have all indented, even the first one of each chapter...

    if you are preparing your work for self-publishing, that's an altogether different matter, since you are then designing your actual book, not submitting a ms...

    is that clear enough?...
     
  13. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    The Oxford Style Manual: "It is common not to indent the first paragraph in each chapter [...], or the first new paragraph following a heading, subheading, or line space."
     
  14. thewordsmith
    Offline

    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2009
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    124
    Location:
    State of Confusion
    Not indenting a whole paragraph is one thing ... and not at all unusual (though it is generally typographical and not a formatting matter). But that is not the matter up for discussion here.

    The question at hand is not indenting the first line of a paragraph while indenting the remainder of the paragraph. Quite a different matter altogether wouldn't you say?
     
  15. thewordsmith
    Offline

    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2009
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    124
    Location:
    State of Confusion
    Should be!
     
  16. The-Joker
    Offline

    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2008
    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Africa
    Agree with the others. Are you asking your question as a writer or as a publisher( self publisher or otherwise)?

    As a writer never base the formating of your manuscript on what you see in a published book. They are two very different entities. A manuscript is formated to achieve ease of reading, while a published book tries to save pages and makes those pages somewhat attractive. For formatting a manuscript there are specific guidelines which can be googled. Barring a few editor/agent minor preferences the rules are universal.
     
  17. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    I can't see anybody who has suggested doing that.
     
  18. madhoca
    Offline

    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    the shadow of the velvet fortress
    Yes, but the three magazines I submit to, and other advice I've had about preparing manuscripts, ALL want the first paragraph to be indented. Check out other submission guidelines and you will see the same thing (although some don't go into detail). I think the above applies more for essay or thesis preparation rather than submitting a manuscript for possible publication.

    Also, never indent five spaces with the space bar; you must indent all paragraphs, including the first, 1cm with the space tab. Sometimes they want a WordDoc sent and the format can 'slip' if you indent manually with the space bar.
     
  19. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    It's for books, not academic style. But as others have pointed out, the issue is whether the original questioner is asking about submission (indent them all) of self-publication (don't indent first paragraphs if you are following Oxford University Press style).
    If you are preparing in a word processor then use a style to set the paragraph indent. Don't use spaces or tabs.
     
  20. madhoca
    Offline

    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    the shadow of the velvet fortress
    Yeah, that's what I mean--the bit at the top of the document where the 2 tabs are on Word (sorry, my computer is set to Turkish so I'm not sure what the term is in English!) It's called a 'style'?
     
  21. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    I think you mean the indent sliders on the ruler. If you slide those around to get the indents you want then they will only affect the region that is selected at the time (although any new paragraphs you type within that range will also be affected). If you modify a style then everything you type in that style will be affected, so in a manuscript the best option is probably to modify the Normal style to give the indents you want, because that's the default style Word uses. That will actually have a knock-on effect on some other styles that are derived from Normal -- headers and the like -- but you're not using those in a manuscript, are you?
     
  22. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    indents should be .5"/1.3 cm which = 5 letter spaces in many, but not all fonts... which is why they should be set at .5"/1.3 cm as default for your blank documents, so no matter what font you use, the indents will be correct...
     
  23. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    For manuscripts, yes. For self-publishing it's up to you but 1em is common.
     
  24. madhoca
    Offline

    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    the shadow of the velvet fortress
    For the metric system, we use 1cm because inches aren't displayed (or used in Europe). It produces the required spacing for Times New Roman, which is the font of choice in the UK.
    Yes, I have it set to default.
     
  25. thewordsmith
    Offline

    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2009
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    124
    Location:
    State of Confusion
    You are correct. I misinterpreted the OP. Thanks
     

Share This Page