1. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ugh do I treat this as dialogue?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Elgaisma, Jan 31, 2011.

    'The only predictable thing about a life with Nate was the timing of his dawn chorus.' I smile, the memory of that last out of tune note every morning, then he would drag me out of bed. ''You don't want to miss the best bit of the day.'' He would say.

    I have no idea how to handle this - the last part is a quote/rememberance, does it need its own paragraph ?
     
  2. Pen
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    Pen Member

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    Not as far as I know, but rather than a full stop before it I'd go with a dash and put "he'd say" at the end rather than "he would say".
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't even know if I should use single or double quotes. OK hmm. My punctuation books are buried at back of bookroom. (was working to unpack at weekend and not sure where they are in relation to still unpacked boxes).
     
  4. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is the 'I' in question talking to someone in the first instance? If so I would go with:
    'The only predictable thing about a life with Nate was the timing of his dawn chorus.' I smile, the memory of the last out of tune note every morning, I continue 'Then he would drag me out of bed "You don't want to miss the best part of the day." He would say'

    If the 'I' in Q is not in dialogue with some one, then:

    The only predictable thing about Nate was the timing of his dawn chorus. I smile, the memory of that last out of tune note every morning, then he would drag me out of bed. 'You don't want to miss best part of the day.' He would say. Instead of He would say, I would insert 'saying'
    Hope this helps.
    ...drag me out of bed saying, 'You...
     
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  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    'The only predictable thing about a life with Nate was the timing of his dawn chorus.' - this is normal dialogue there is someone else in the room.

    The rest is thought. Thanks Trilby.
     
  6. Boring Editor
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    Boring Editor Member

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    "You don't want to miss the best bit of the day,'' he would say.

    Personally, I prefer the method above (note the correct).
     
  7. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    ok so I can keep it in the same paragraph and even though I am in the UK it is '' and not ' ?
     
  8. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Changing memory to thought imo shows it is thoughts going through the mind at the time.
    Don't think it needs a separate paragraph.
     
  9. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Now I am completely unsure lol Thought does read better but Nate died 20 years ago, memory works better from that point of view.

    OK I'll keep it like that for now. Might reword the whole thing later.
     
  10. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    UK. It is my understanding that double quotation marks a used for speech within speech. In the US this rule is reversed.

    'Claire said, "I've changed my mind. I'm not going to marry him." I can just imagine how his mother will feel about that. She'll be cock-a-hoop don't you think?'
     
  11. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    That is my understanding as well - I just wasn't sure whether it was different for a quotation which this is.

    I'll stick with singles, put in the comma and hope that is correct ;)
     
  12. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I smile as my thoughts drift back to happier times - the lingering memory of...
     
  13. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it is not being said out aloud, I think you will need to drop the quotation marks to avoid confusion. I'm not sure how to deal with it.
     
  14. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    hmm, no it isn't being said out loud Nate is dead, its what he said every morning when he was alive. This is a slightly wider context, I have tweaked it, is this clearer ?

     
  15. zaffy
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    zaffy Contributing Member

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    It seems to me you are talking to someone who is sitting on the bed. If you are tallking to him, then it is dialogue, surely. Or am I getting confused.
    Also, I was taught, colons and semi-colons do not belong in dialogue. Just hyphens, commas and full stops.
     
  16. Argle
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    I would use italics, personally.

    You don't want to miss the best bit of the day, he would say.

    But I think I might like italics more than the average person. I think it has to do with my design experience (which involved occasional typography).
     
  17. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't see why they can't be in dialogue as they effect flow being a Brit I understand I have a bit more freedom with them. Could be wrong but I think it would flow wrongly with the other punctuation. I certainly use them when I am writing a speech, they give a visual as to the length of pause etc

    This part is my issue:
    I smile, the memory of him giving that last out of tune note every morning then dragging me out of bed. 'You don't want to miss the best bit of the day,' he would say.

    He is quoting his dead partner here rather than talking to Fyren who is in the room with him and who is subject to the rest of the conversation.

    I like Italics too - I may just use them. I ended up using them for certain conversations in my first book because they were between someone responding to another's thought.
     
  18. zaffy
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    Okay, understand.

    Zaffy said, "I remember being told 'use italics or quote marks but never both together'."

    P.S
    There was a long thread about for and against italics a couple of weeks ago.
     
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    'The only predictable thing about a life with Nate was the timing of his dawn chorus.' I smile at the memory of that last out of tune note every morning. Then he would drag me out of bed. ''You don't want to miss the best bit of the day,'' he would say.'

    that's how it could be done british style, if it's a quote within dialog... if it's narrative, containing a line of quoted dialog, then the " " would be changed to ' ' and there'd be no quotation marks around the whole thing...
     
  20. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    so no need for a new paragraph ?
     
  21. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I see what you mean by, does it need a new paragraph, Because at the beginning the 'I' is in discussion with someone 'The only predictable...' and by the end the dialogue is in the 'I's thoughts 'You don't want to miss...' it may cause confusion. Therefore, for the sake of clarity I would reword the piece.
    Hope this helps.
     
  22. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm going to take the step and Italicise it and change the paragraph - although it should be clear from the wording as all punctuation except the capital letter at the beginning and the fullstop at the end are a courtesy to the reader think I will do it with this one.
     
  23. Argle
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    Nice.

    ;)
     
  24. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nearly -- I can't see an opening quote to match the final closing quote. Presumably it should be before 'Then he would...'. Other than that it looks good.

    I've never managed to find any consistent British rules for whether single or double quotes should be used for speech. I've just pulled two books at random from my shelf, both written in the last ten years, and sure enough one uses single and one uses double quotes for speech. Fowler says that he would like the single quote to prevail but acknowledges that there's no rule for it.
     
  25. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    You deal with it as you would with any other text that is quoted -- you use quotation marks!
     

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