1. enquiringperson

    enquiringperson New Member

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    Indentation of opening paragraphs involving dialogue

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by enquiringperson, Oct 10, 2011.

    It is common not to indent an opening paragraph, however, I am at odds what to do when an opening paragraph is dialogue.
    Would it then need the indentation, or would it be aligned left?

    Here's some nonsense text to illustrate:
    (note: I have put underscores to represent spaces, as they keep disappearing when I submit the post)

    1. Normal opening paragraph.
    Blah blah blah.
    ___"Oh blah?"
    ___"Blah blah!"

    2. Opening paragraph with dialogue, indented.
    ___"Hello, blah."
    ___"Hello."

    3. Opening paragraph with dialogue, not indented.
    "Hello, blah."
    ___"Hello."

    So would example 2 or 3 be correct?

    This can also be complicated with the use of dropcaps...

    I always appreciate all the feedback given in these forums.
    Cheers.
     
  2. madhoca

    madhoca Contributor Contributor

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    In published books, the opening paragraph is usually not indented, but in a manuscript the beginning of every paragraph is always indented, regardless of whether it is the first in the novel/chapter/after a paragraph break, whatever--and this means dialogue, too.
     
  3. cruciFICTION

    cruciFICTION Contributor Contributor

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    Oh man, madhoca, you have no idea how much easier you just made my life.

    (You're going to guess at a lot, but it's not going to be by a significant amount. It'll mean more time spent on a keyboard and less on a mouse, though, which is ultimately preferable for me.
     
  4. enquiringperson

    enquiringperson New Member

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    Thanks. I am referring to print layout, if that helps clarify any further answers.
     
  5. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, that's what's done in mss for print publication... for online use, there are no indents... line breaks are used instead...
     
  6. TheWritingWriter

    TheWritingWriter New Member

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    I agree with madhoca, plus 1 & 3 don't look right to me at all. Not that they aren't right; they just look strange to me.
     

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