1. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    "What are some alternate ways of showing dialogue?" Edward wondered.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Edward, Jul 17, 2007.

    "Of course there's the usual quotation marks," I tell you.
    "people say 'use the singles for quotes in quotes.'
    Italics signifies inner monologue, I think.
    "things said under the breath (are like this)"
    SMALL CAPITALS ARE USED BY SOME FOR GODS, says Metatron
    If you want to *Shoots a fireball* you use asterisks if you're RolePlaying. (though some use chevrons)
    <<But what about...>> asks the telekinetic
    {All of the other...} chimes the android
    [...things you could use?] pops up on screen.

    Now if that wasn't to annoying, the point of it was to ask: When there are Gods about and robots at play or you're conversing with telekinetics, how do you distinguish they don't "speak" in the same way every other character does? I know K.A. Applegate uses the guillemets (well, they're used like guillemets, they're really just two angle brackets. Guillemets are actually used in some languages:French, Albanian, Swiss-German) to denote Andalites speaking and talking while in morph. What other ways are there for speaking?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As much as possible, I would say stick with the first two, possibly going as far as italicizing thoughts. Mammamaia would say stick with the first two, and I'm inclined to agree, as will most style guides.

    The context should supply the finer shades of meaning, not gimmicky punctuation of funny fonts. On the other hand, textbooks have opened more of a can of worms with the use of fonts to signal changes of context.

    But the best practice in writing is that words should convey the meaning, and punctuation should follow standard rules that support the words. Punctuation also serves to separate alternate meanings, such as between a statement and a question.

    I would never use emoticons in a crafted piece of writing either. It's just lazy writing, in my opinion.
     
  3. Gagoots
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    Gagoots Member

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    Well, to be a realist, I would say underline everything. That is standard manuscript formatting. Worry about adding the eye-candy when something gets accepted.
     
  4. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I thought that in manuscript format, underlining indicates italics, not speech.
     
  5. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    Trust me, niether would I, I just have it there for completeness.

    But yeah, I was just curious to see if there were any real authors who have done different things, like Applegate with the andalites and the guy-who's-name-escapes-me (Discworld guy) does the small caps for Death

    EDIT: Terry Pratchett, that's his name
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, I was drawing an analogy between emoticons (smilies) and typographical gimmicks. I didn't even see any emoticons in your post.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    cog nailed it!... and underlining is for where you want italics in the final printed version, not for speech...
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Right, Underlining is a convention from the days of typed manuscripts. Typewriters are not equipped to type italics, so undelining is used instead. Typewriters do, however, have double and single quotation marks.

    (And thank you for the compliments, mammamaia)
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    thing is, cogitat, cog!... that's a rarity around here, y'know... ;-)
     
  10. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    All that being said, adamant still wonders what one should do when using a com-link or telepathy in lieu of changing punctuation. I believe that the story (as well as the ever important body language) could suggest what is going to happen, but it may get in the way at times (or I speculate that this could happen). Perhaps the creation a new verb would remedy this problem?
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    For telepathy, treat it like ordinary literal thought, making sure it is voiced from the perspective of the person thinking the thought. You can use character reaction to signify the transmission.

    Dialog over a com link is still dialog. The other person is remote, but the dialog still comes from the other person. Alternately, you can treat the com device as a proxy.

    It's all about framing the dialog with enough context that the meaning is clear.
     
  12. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    What if there's a lot of distance?
    - The response gets lost.

    What if there's other though processes going on?
    - No change in font could make it confusing

    What if there's a lot of text in the dialog?
    - In absence of punctuation, readers may have to go back over things to understand where the conversation stops and perhaps dialog with someone in the room begins

    ...What if I'm just playing the devil's advocate?
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As the writer, you are fully in control of setting the scene. But funky font foolery is folly! :)

    My feeling is that if you are looking over your story, without any punctuation/font gimmicks, and what you read is unclear, you need to take another look at the wording itself, and the scene you are setting.

    Typographic stunts may help visually, but there's no substitute for good writing.

    But what if I'm just an inflexible old curmudgeon? ;)

    And I think I just came up with tomorrow's word.
     
  14. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    When I said 'a change in font'... I meant to say italicize the font.

    WARNING: Crappy examples ahead.

    Now, if you weren't in the room (or if it's 1st person or 3rd person limited), there would be no real way to know whether I was talking to you through telepathy unless I specifically stated that. Also, you could very well think that both of these statements were to you if there wasn't something telling the reader that I wasn't.

    By using a different verb for the telepathy, there would clarification in thought-speech. Also, your presence wouldn't much matter.
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Context and word choice.
     
  16. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    dubya-tee-eff.

    Sounds like mind-molestation.... Back on subject, I understand that you can do that (I've even referred to it myself). My point was that it creates more that you have to say, and isn't using another verb a viable alternative? And while you could use thought/pondered/cogitated/contemplated/concevied or whatever, there could still be a bit of haziness. Spoken dialog usually doesn't start a new paragraph unless there is another person (and I imagine this would be likewise).
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The extra words (or paragraph breaks) are worth it if they add to the comprehension. But ponder is not equivalent to thinking. Pondering implies thought for the purpos of deciding. It wasn't a random substitution.

    And spoken dialog does start another paragraph if the speaker starts a new thought. The cat food thought is in a completely different thought context than the message about the avatar.

    Also, the reason adamant was capitalized in the first sentence was because it was the first word of the sentence, not because it was acting like a proper noun. Otherwise, you want to make sure it isn't the first word of the sentence.
     
  18. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, I know it was the first word of the sentence... it's just... my name breaks all rules of grammar and physics. I've never written any other way. Guess I don't think it looks as harmonized 'A-a-a' versus 'a-a-a'.

    Alright, but what if it's a situation where one has to keep going back and forth through both types of thought -- or perhaps a dual-dialogue? Do you believe it would not be beneficial to create another verb Mr. Crumb Muffin? I mean 'curmudgeon'.


    Also, what are some good ways to distinguish contributors of a three-way dialog if I don't believe that the difference in voice is strong enough -- because I suck at writing conversations.
     
  19. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If telepathy is being used very heavily, there's a good justification for coining a verb for it. That is probably what would happen in reality anyway.

    A three way conversation with a single sender and single receiver for each thought is inherently confusing. You need to use as much context as necessary to make it clear who is communicating with whom at any moment. The same would be true if three people were texting back and forth.

    Overall, I would recommend avoiding that kind of situation as much as possible. It is bound to be difficult for the reader to follow at best.

    Ideally, you should be able to tell your story on an audio tape or in Braille, and for those, any clever typography vanishes.

    I'm not good at conversations either, but it's more a matter of the dialog itself for me, not how to present it.
     
  20. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    T/F - Cogito likes that I have hi-jacked this thread for my own usage?

    Same for me (or at least I think I have a problem with that part of dialogue). I've never really had much a conflict with presentation -- all of these threads are just making me think too much, which is quite normal for me. I'll try to avoid the three-way thing I suppose.

    Hm... what would be a good word for the thought-speech though? Eh... I hate having to name things.
     
  21. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    to psi, to esper, to neuro, to ping...

    any number of possibilities
     
  22. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oo... your second suggestion made me think of a word I was using for something else (well, it was derived from it). VESPER!

    Then again, the word 'carom' is pretty nice. And it's never really used, which comes in handy. 'Relay' is pretty good too. I could also go with 'Ether', in reference to the ethernet.

    Is there a term for when neuron impulses move from one place to another? If that makes any sense like it does in my head.
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I can't say that any such term pops into my head. Neurons fire, the impulses propagate. If you do coin a verb for point to point telepathy, you might base it on an acronym given to the process. You will probably want it to be a transitive verb, so that the recipient is also named; compare with "to text" for sending text messages: Suzie texted Dimitri to meet her after class.

    I have to say, I would find widespread telepathy in a story a bit annoying. I'm addressing it only in terms of how I would do it if the story demanded it.

    Interesting discussion, though.
     
  24. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    Communication
    Across
    Remotely
    Orchestrated
    Minds

    Work in progress.

    Though, why were you saying that widespread telepathy would annoy you? Actually, I'm not even sure how much I will be using it (or a technological communication link for that matter).

    Perhaps you believe it would take away from seeing the reaction of another character? Yeah, that would be a problem, but I suppose I can just have them use it as a 'secured whisper'.
     
  25. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    belly-busting, bleepin' brill, best buddy! [may i quote you?]
     

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