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  1. OurJud

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Dialogue beat punctuation

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by OurJud, Sep 2, 2016.

    Not entirely sure how to correctly punctuate this beat. This is what I have,

    'Friends had talked about the hippie trail - a journey that stretched between Europe and South Asia,' he held up his left hand and scribed a slow arc with his right right as he spoke, 'and I just knew I had to do it.'
     
  2. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    'Friends had talked about the hippie trail - a journey that stretched between Europe and South Asia.' He held up his left hand and scribed a slow arc with his right right as he spoke. 'And I just knew I had to do it.'

    'Friends had talked about the hippie trail - a journey that stretched stretches between Europe and Southern Asia and...' He held up his left hand and scribed a slow arc with his right right as he spoke. 'I just knew I had to do it.'
     
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  3. OurJud

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I neglected to explain this is a story within a story. What I have here is someone telling my MC a story, so the past tense verbs are justified, yes?

    It was more the punctuation of and around the beat I was concerned with.

    Thanks. I think your first method with the full stops works best.
     
  4. Francis de Aguilar

    Francis de Aguilar Contributing Member

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    'Friends had talked about the hippie trail - a journey that stretched between Europe and South Asia'--he held up his left hand and scribed a slow arc with his right hand--'and I just knew I had to do it.' The double dashes represent em ashes.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2016
  5. OurJud

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks, Francis. I'm not sure that's a format I've ever seen for something like this, but I'm happy to stand corrected.
     
  6. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Treat the beat as a complete sentence. Capitalize the first word, full stop at the end. How you finish off the first bit of dialogue has a few options. It can be an ellipsis or it can be a dash. The ellipsis makes me read it more as trailing off, the dash makes me read it more as interrupted or clipped.
     
  7. OurJud

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    'I'd heard friends talking about something called the hippie trail - a journey that stretched between Europe and South Asia–' he held up his left hand and scribed a slow arc with his right as he spoke, 'and I just knew I had to do it.'

    ??
     
  8. Francis de Aguilar

    Francis de Aguilar Contributing Member

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    It looks to me like interrupted dialogue in which you describe an action that takes place concurrently with the dialogue. The dialogue itself is not interrupted, hence no punctuation after 'Asia' or before 'and'. With this format, you can do away with 'as he spoke' It is, as far as I am aware perfectly acceptable, (bloody hope so, I use it a lot)

    Example: “Can I ask you” -she lifted her head- “to stay here for a while?”
     
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  9. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Can I play?

    'Friends, they are always talking about the hippie trail - journey, you know, stretches between Europe and South Asia, ' he said, and held up his hand, described a slow arc through the joss mists, 'In that moment,' he said, 'I knew I had to do it,' he said, and inhaled, like a prick. lion of Zion
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2016
  10. OurJud

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Damn, Matthew. I was with you up until the prick line.
     
  11. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry Jud - that's from 1st draft, I'm not being nasty - you just gripped me with the image. Would love to develop a 3 header.

    There's this guy I met who purchased prescription drugs in India, flew back twice a year as his 'lifestyle.' He offered me a viagra actually. You can guess my response.

    It's the Friday rush, I'm not writing straight.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2016
  12. OurJud

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    You intimidate me, Mat. I never know how to read your comments. Ironic? Sarcastic? Simple piss-taking? All three? :meh:
     
  13. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry Jud. Don't be intimidated, I am kind. Only get excited sometimes, but not evil, so play free, brother.
     
  14. jannert

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'm just reacting by instinct here, and may be totally wrong. However, I believe your original offering is technically correct. (In other words, using the commas alone.)

    Would there be a problem with this? "Friends had talked about the hippie trail—a journey that stretched between Europe and South Asia," he said, "and I just knew I had to do it."

    I don't think I'd have had a problem with that, and it's essentially the same structure. However, in your first example, you're including a lot more information in the beat, so it reads awkwardly with just the comma separations. I would go for either of @Shadowfax's choices because they read better.
     
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  15. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

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    I wonder if its too correctly worded for the subject matter - wouldn't someone who'd done the hippie trail be a bit more 'relaxed'

    "Friends'd talked 'bout the hippie trail - that journey 'tween Europe and South Asia, ya know", holding up his left hand as though toking on a spliff, he scribed languid arc with his right hand, "and I jus' had to do it.'
     
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