Breaking Dialogue With Action - Page 2


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Thread: Breaking Dialogue With Action

  1. #11
    There are many that do. Many publishing houses follow Chicago Manual of Style. And that particular line that you quoted is from a Doubleday Knopf book by Jennifer Egan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Riptide View Post
    But if you do something like “And Miss Jackson,” he turned to Kitty, “it is a great honor as well as a pleasure.” -- then it's not really proper dialogue, you know? Because you wouldn't say: "Hello Miss Jackson," he turned to Kitty. You would do: He turned to Kitty. "Hello Miss Jackson."

    Unless you've seen some published books that do this, and there might be some.

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Riptide View Post
    But if you do something like “And Miss Jackson,” he turned to Kitty, “it is a great honor as well as a pleasure.” -- then it's not really proper dialogue, you know? Because you wouldn't say: "Hello Miss Jackson," he turned to Kitty. You would do: He turned to Kitty. "Hello Miss Jackson."
    You're right that the turning would come first. I didn't post that as example.

    Honestly, putting action in the middle of a sentence is pretty rare. Or should be. Most of the time the sentence can be ended befor the action, which is its own sentence, then a new sentence is started for the rest of the dialog.

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greenstein View Post
    Yeah, I mean, sure...” She licked her lips, at once noting how dry her throat felt “... I talk to them and all.”

    An em-dash denotes a sudden cut off, an ellipsis denotes a trailing off.
    .
    Yep. Only I would put a period after "felt" and drop the ellipse before "I talked". So...

    Yeah, I mean, sure...” She licked her lips, at once noting how dry her throat felt. “I talk to them and all.”

  4. #14
    Sorry, didn't mean that you posted it originally, just that you quoted it from my post. I'm the one who used it as an example. Honestly, I was not even aware of this particular chicago manual of style guideline until someone corrected me. I had seen it and changed it in their manuscript. So I did what any card-bearing OCD person would do, and researched the heck out of it. LOL. And I have seen it done with commas, em dashes, etc. That said, for anyone submitting manuscripts to outlets that use Chicago Manual of Style, it is always nice to know a guideline, even if you don't use it. That said, I think that consistency is most important. If you do it differently, do it differently consistently.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack of all trades View Post
    You're right that the turning would come first. I didn't post that as example.

    Honestly, putting action in the middle of a sentence is pretty rare. Or should be. Most of the time the sentence can be ended befor the action, which is its own sentence, then a new sentence is started for the rest of the dialog.

  5. #15
    I avoid using the -- because it does not render well in all formats. Sure, with a print book you can lock it down, but who buys print books anymore? These days it's all about the e-book, and those all have rendering quirks and the reader can change font & size to suit their eyes. One thing you may try is to examine that same text you showed us in Amazon's epub simulator and see how it renders in an Ipad versus Android, kindle versus phone. You may not like what you see.

    But I think the really important thing here is not your punctuation, but what goes between your dialog. A lotta writers don't realize that some of the most valuable real estate in a book is the dialog. Those interruptions to the dialog are not just to denote the speaker, but to illustrate the character or the scene. I frequently see people filling these spaces with references that do nothing to paint the characters or the world around them. Use these dialog components to fully flesh out your characters.

    "Sure, I talk to them guys..." She used a dirty hand to wipe a lock of hair from her eyes. "Talk to 'em all the time."

    "Sure, I talk to those guys..." Swallowing hard, her throat was suddenly dry. It made her nervous to have the man leaning in so close that way, almost as if he were trying to smell her fear. "I talk to them all the time."

    And there is no law that says you cannot add a whole paragraph in the middle, so long as it helps to either paint the characters or the scene setting. Remember: dialog is for a lot more than talking. Maximize your dialog scenes because these are where your characters interact. Never squander a dialog scene on mere talking.

  6. #16
    Useful read, I struggle a lot with this.

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