1. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Long character speech.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Jhunter, Jan 22, 2012.

    If you have a long dialogue for a character do you make new paragraphs like your normally would inside the quotations? Or do you leave it as one big brick of text?
     
  2. Corgz
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    Corgz Senior Member

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    Niether, i break it up.

    mid way is migt say, 'She paused and looked at greg to see if he was still listening' and then continue.

    :| long character speech is boring.
     
  3. astroannie
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    astroannie Member

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    Are you referring to a transcript that must be word-for-word? (like for the introduction to a section of a text or whatever) You should break it up as the speaker does.

    If this is fiction, what on *earth* could someone be yammering about *that* long....you need to show us, not tell us.

    If it's Gramps comparing you to your father, then it's like any other -logue (sorry, but "dia" means "two" and if your speaker is the only one talking, it's a "monologue"). Corgz is correct, you break it up. Not just into paragraphs, but with non-spoken action.
     
  4. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Every time I think about this question, I remember "The Count of Monte Cristo". Over like 70% of that book is dialogue/monologue, and it works so well, even without non-spoken action interruptions. Another book with big monologues which read beautifully is Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment". But that is a skill that not everyone has.
    In any case, even if there is a long monologue, I'd break it up in paragraphs if the text is becoming uncomfortably brick-like, and then see what your beta-readers think :)
     
  5. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I am talking about a character giving a literal speech.
     
  6. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Well... I hate to be the etymology facist here, but 'dia' does not mean two - 'dialogue' comes from Greek 'dia-logos' which is from the verb 'dia-legomai', meaning 'to converse with'. DIA is a preposition meaning between, and legomai means to speak.

    Greek for 2 is duo ;)

    'Mono-logue' is actually to speak to oneself, as in Greek monos means alone. Mia means 1.
     
  7. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Well, there are plenty of precedents for characters giving speeches where they are not broken up, but I'm thinking of classical Greek literature like Homer or Thucydides. In modern novels I think it would be wise to break it up a little bit - people don't tend to pay attention if your character rattles on for 4 pages, any more than they would if they were listening to it in person ;)

    You can give us a flavour of the speech by direct quoting excerpts from it, but I would recomend having some breaks to describe the audience's reaction or the speaker's mannerisms, and perhaps even paraphrasing some of the speech in narrative. I'd suggest you don't direct quote more than a paragraph at a time, two at the very most.
     
  8. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, I am sorry, I misunderstood. I thought you used the word "dialogue" in your opening statement, so based on you mentioning a phrase "big brick of text" I assumed you were talking about a monologue. I didn't realise you were referring to giving an actual speech... At least that's what I understood from your phrase "literal speech".
    Anyway, my bad.
     
  9. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Sorry, I asked this question right before I was leaving the house to go out to dinner. I should have been more specific. Because I actually sort of asked the wrong question, haha.

    What I meant to ask was if you have multiple paragraphs in one set of quotations how do you format that in a word processor?

    Example:

    -----"blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    -----blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    -----blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah"

    Do you leave the indents as is? Or do you add a quotation mark to it?

    Example:

    -----"blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    -----"blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    -----"blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah"

    Both examples are non-interrupted dialogue. I do not personally have something like this in my work. I am just curious since I was flipping through the first Harry Potter and saw Mcgonagall gave a little one page speech and it was formatted like the second example. Also the "-" are there to show indents, the forums don't seem like it if you try to indent yourself.
     
  10. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    You have nothing to be sorry about. Your reply was insightful all the same. :)
     
  11. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    I think the second is correct. If your character's direct speech goes into a new paragraph, you indent and put new quotation marks, but don't close the previous paragraph with quotation marks. This shows that the new paragraph is in fact direct speech, but a continuation of the previous paragraph.
     
  12. IrishLantern
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    IrishLantern Member

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    Yeah the second example is the correct one. You don't close the dialogue tags at the end of the paragraph because that would mean the character has stopped speaking, and you start the next paragraph with a dialogue tag so readers know the characer is still speaking, and a closing tag wasn't simply missing from teh end of the previous paragraph.
     
  13. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Word. Thanks dudes and dudettes.

    I just wanted to make sure the Harry Potter book was formatted correctly before I put it in my memory bank for later use, if I ever have something like this.
     
  14. Corgz
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    Corgz Senior Member

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    if i can remember its like this



    "Blah blah blahBlah blah blahBlah blah blahBlah blah blahBlah blah blahBlah blah blah"
    Blah blah blahBlah blah blahBlah blah blahBlah blah blahBlah blah blah" or something like that....
     
  15. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, I think what Kallithrix said is right.
    Plus I really wanna read this book!
    All that blah blah blah made me curious! :p
     
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  16. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    The bold version is the current usage of punctuation, but it could change. However, as long as it's clear who's speaking, a publisher would probably edit the punctuation to their house style. Just like using double quotes for spoken dialogue and single quotes for quoting or vice versa. And as long as you use something consistently, it can be changed easily by search+replace on your word processor.
     
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  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, the second is correct...
     

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