1. Michael O
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    Michael O Contributing Member

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    Which way is better to end a paragraph?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Michael O, May 23, 2013.

    The MC, family and extended family are in the thick-of-it. The MC is about to tell his plan but not to the reader. How best to end this paragraph...

    “Okay…Here’s how we can take them.”

    Or

    "Okay, here's how we can take them..."

    Does the 2nd way leave a better trail?
     
  2. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    If you are talking about ending a scene...then a period is best.
     
  3. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I would say the ellipsis is better for the situation, but I think you should add a bit of description, too. E.g. "John ran his hands through his hair and looked at the other, each one in turn. 'Okay, here's how we can take them...'"

    Just a thought. :)
     
  4. Michael O
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    Michael O Contributing Member

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    There's more, that's just the last sentence.

    Afraid to add the rest of it. Fear that Cogito will get off his skis from behind the ship, come aboard and beat the crap outa me with his big stick for trying to sneak in a little too much here.

    Thanks! Gotta go! Time to get below deck and row like all the other slaves. If you want something critiqued, ya gotta row. Wonder if I could start a line of credit? :)
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Perhaps if the sentence itself were less structurally complete? Clipped at a more random point because that ellipses at the end of what constitutes an independent clause pulls me in two directions. Otherwise, I would not go the way of the ellipses. It seems a bit of typset trickery.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    End with a period. You don't need ellipses at all here. Then begin a new scene with the start of the next paragraph.
     
  7. ketamineman
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    ketamineman Member

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    have them huddle around and start whispering and then fade to black
     
  8. Darkhorse
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    Darkhorse Member

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    OP, I imagine you are not going to explain his plan in the next paragraph, but in fact start a new scene. Is that correct?

    If it is, I do not think that I can answer your question, but perhaps this context will change some of the posters opinions above.
     
  9. heal41hp
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    heal41hp Contributing Member

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    I second (or third?) those saying to just end it with a period. Jim Butcher does that a lot in his Dresden Files series, usually at the ends of chapters. He'll just make a statement, cut out, and then start implementing the plan without letting the reader in on what it is. I enjoy it. It's very suspenseful and really pushes me to keep reading. Which, I suspect, is why you're doing it. :)
     
  10. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I'd vote for the elipses hands down. It gives the reader a sense of anticipation. It creates a question and isn't an abrupt period that closes the thought. You know there's more. With a period, technically you don't know if there is more or if the character simply says, 'OK, here's how we can take them.' and then stops and walks away. Anyway, the real answer is...
     
  11. J♥Star
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    J♥Star Member

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    Go with the first way. :-D
     
  12. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    As others have already noted. You don't really need the ellipsis. And, no, it doesn't add a sense of anticipation or expectation to the sentence. Furthermore, as also previously noted, you are putting an ellipsis at the end of a complete sentence, "Here's how we can take them." It's a complete statement so there is no trailing thought or statement such as something like, "Okay. What we're going to do..." which leaves the thought unfinished.

    But, in this case, you need nothing more than a simple period. And, sometimes, the simplest really is the best.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no ellipsis [note to some above: singular ending is 'is' and plural is 'es']

    as an editor, i have to agree with those who say a period is needed for the end of a paragraph...
     
  14. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Darkhorse, Heal41hp, and Selbbin...It is fairly obvious that was what Michael O was intending.

    Still, you would use a period, then double space, one of these: * * * in the middle of the page, then double space, then start the next scene in a new non-indented paragraph.
     
  15. ProsonicLive
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    ProsonicLive Senior Member

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    Neither, end it with a question
    MC:(the MC) sat down behind the barn wood table motioning for the others to do the same. "Alright, you wanted to know what we are going to do?"
     
  16. heal41hp
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    heal41hp Contributing Member

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    The original question is about how to end a paragraph. Michael O never specified scene. We're just going by what he asked without assuming anything that wasn't stated.
     
  17. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Was the irony deliberate?
     
  18. ProsonicLive
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    ProsonicLive Senior Member

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    I apologize, my reply was assuming this was also the end of the chapter.
     
  19. rhduke
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    rhduke Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Well it can depend on how the next paragraph is starting. If you're implementing an ellipsis, where you're omitting a section of the story, then adding the three dots at the end of the sentence would signal this. For example:

    The reader assumes the speaker had continued speaking about unimportant information, so story time is pushed forward to when Frank has already left the conversation.

    I don't really understand what you mean by "better trail". I'm afraid everyone here will be shooting flies unless you clarify exactly what effect you're going for.
     
  20. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry, nee... i have to disagree...

    a line break would be needed only if the next paragraph is a change of scene/time/character pov... and one doesn't really 'double space' before and after the symbol, since all lines in the ms should be double-spaced and there should not be any extra space between the line break symbol and the paragraphs...

    a single # is the traditional mark for a line break that most pros use...

    and all paragraphs must be indented in a ms, even if some are not, in printed books...

    selbbin...

    what irony?
     
  21. Michael O
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    Michael O Contributing Member

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    A thank you for the help.

    Sherlock Holmes and Mr. Watson went camping.

    In the wee hours of the morning, Sherlock nudged Mr. Watson awake. “Tell me Mr. Watson, what do you see?”

    “Well Sherlock, I see Mars, Jupiter and Orion’s Belt. Closer to the Horizon I see-”

    “No you idiot!" Holmes interrupted, utterly frustrated with his friend who missed the obvious, "Someone stole our tent!!
     
  22. Dorotha
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    Dorotha New Member

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    I think the second is better, simply because the ellipses always leave me with the urge to see what is coming next. To me they are the trail markers.
     
  23. Michael O
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    Michael O Contributing Member

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    That's what I feel but so many who know so much more than me about writing say period.
     
  24. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Go with your gut. Technical perfection needs to take a back seat to creative expression.

    (Remember, my vote is for the elipsis for the very reason that it will entice many readers to think about what comes next.)
     
  25. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I'll leave you to decide.
     

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