1. A Fellow Stalker
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    A Fellow Stalker Member

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    Grammar Starting new paragraph for character action

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by A Fellow Stalker, May 12, 2015.

    Hi, currently working to improve my work as per critique I got from my thread. One of the things was that I tend to put a reaction immediately after another character's dialogue. For an example, I'll put one character's dialogue and such in red and another's in blue.

    “And I thought you were some noble’s whelp, but clearly you’re just some hired thug.” Elric began to draw himself up like only a noble could when he heard footsteps down the hallway, behind a long bend.

    Would it be grammatically correct to start a new paragraph for that, despite the fragmentary nature? Such as:

    “And I thought you were some noble’s whelp, but clearly you’re just some hired thug.”


    Elric began to draw himself up like only a noble could when he heard footsteps down the hallway, behind a long bend.
     
  2. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, it would. Usually untagged dialogue followed by a named character's action actually indicates that THAT character was the speaker.

    The only times when the action is done not by the speaker but remains in the same paragraph that I've seen is when the action is so short that it takes up maybe 2-3 words before the original speaker continues speaking - but even then I rather dislike it.

    But in your case, the line of action/narrative is so long that it's a clear case of putting it in a separate paragraph.
     
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  3. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's the sort of thing that works better if the second character responds before reacting.

    “And I thought you were some noble’s whelp, but clearly you’re just some hired thug.”


    "Who are you, to call anybody a thug". Elric began to draw himself up like only a noble could when he heard footsteps down the hallway, behind a long bend.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    “And I thought you were some noble’s whelp, but clearly you’re just some hired thug.” Elric began ...​
    That says Elric was the speaker. You need a new paragraph.

    Also, this is an awkward sentence:
    Elric began to draw himself up like only a noble could when he heard footsteps down the hallway, behind a long bend.​
    I suggest you drop the last clause. You could add something else if it matters:
    Elric began to draw himself up like only a noble could when he heard distant footsteps down the hallway.​

    Also, now that I read it again, I don't know what, "draw himself up like only a noble could" means.
     

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