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  1. StoryForest

    StoryForest Banned

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    Starting a new line in dialogue.

    Discussion in 'Dialogue Development' started by StoryForest, Jul 23, 2019.

    Are there any rules on when to start a new line when interweaving thoughts/actions in between dialogue? I always find myself confused when the same character is speaking and thinking/doing something at the same time. Here are some examples to illustrate:

    Example 1: Variation A (new line based on character that’s being referenced)

    “Please use proper grammar when we are in school.” Mr. Smith gestured the young man to take a seat.

    John refused. “Mr. Smith, why is my assignment longer than everyone else’s?”


    Example 1: Variation B (keep dialogue and actions seperate)

    “Please use proper grammar when we are in school.”

    Mr. Smith gestured the young man to take a seat, but John refused.

    “Mr. Smith, why is my assignment longer than everyone else’s?”


    Example 1: Variation C (new line only when new dialogue is introduced)

    “Please use proper grammar when we are in school.” Mr. Smith gestured the young man to take a seat, but John refused.

    “Mr. Smith, why is my assignment longer than everyone else’s?”




    Example 2: Variation A (new line based on character that’s being referenced)


    “Don’t think I haven’t seen you sneaking out campus late at night.”

    “What, are you stalking me now?” John didn’t like where this was going, but Mr. Smith had a point. If he didn’t finish his schoolwork, he wouldn’t have enough credits to graduate. “Fine, I’ll work on the assignment. But can you at least give me an extension?”


    Example 2: Variation B (new line based on thought/subject)

    “Don’t think I haven’t seen you sneaking out campus late at night.”

    “What, are you stalking me now?”

    John didn’t like where this was going, but Mr. Smith had a point. If he didn’t finish his schoolwork, he wouldn’t have enough credits to graduate. “Fine, I’ll work on the assignment. But can you at least give me an extension?”


    Example 2: Variation C (new line based on timing/beats)

    “Don’t think I haven’t seen you sneaking out campus late at night.”

    “What, are you stalking me now?” John didn’t like where this was going, but Mr. Smith had a point. If he didn’t finish his schoolwork, he wouldn’t have enough credits to graduate. After considering his options for a moment, he eventually came around.

    “Fine, I’ll work on the assignment. But can you at least give me an extension?”


    There are probably many more variations to choose from but I just want to throw these out there to see if anybody else struggles with the same issue, and/or know of any good guidelines to follow?
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
  2. AlyceOfLegend

    AlyceOfLegend Member

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    Example 1, Variation A seems most natural and clear when reading.

    Example 2, Variation A, same as above.
     
  3. FlyingGuppy

    FlyingGuppy Member

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    It's a stylistic choice. For example 1, they're all technically correct. For example 2, version A is probably the correct one, while B and C both seem wrong for the same reason: the though should either accompany both lines, or neither.

    For hard and fast rules... as long as it's clear what thought and dialogue belongs to which character, and who's reacting to what and why, you're golden.

    Going back to Example 1, none are wrong. However....
    • 1 seems so the most abrubt, like John's refusal is very unexpected, and that Mr. Smith is talking while gesturing.
    • For 2, the refusal feels less significant in the drama, and neither character is acting while speaking.
    • 3 is technically correct, but adds more emphasis on John's dialogue, as it's seperated from any action.

    It really all depends on the storytelling voice you're going for. For what it's worth, 1 wins for me. It just feels punchier and more dramatic.
     
  4. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin I don't feel tardy.... Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This a 3 year old thread whose OP was banned. Nothing to see here.

    :closed:
     
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