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Expressing dialog, verbal, written, thought. Options · View
Milik_Redman
Posted: Tuesday, June 05, 2012 6:30:01 AM

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Morgan, in one of my stories it was necessary to punctuate speech in three ways. Verbal, written and inner dialog or thoughts.

With verbal dialog I simply used quotation marks. That was fairly straight forward.

However at several points in the story the characters communicated through written speech on a computer. Not knowing what I was doing I used single quotation marks. 'How is your night going'

With inner thoughts I have used italics with single quotation marks. 'When will this night end!'

My question is how should I be defining these different types of speech?

Thank you
clum
Posted: Tuesday, June 05, 2012 6:34:16 AM

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Great question; I would also like some clarification on this. When I find myself in these situations, I find the best thing to do is decide on a way and stay consistent. However, I would love to know what the accepted "good practice" is.

(Milik - another American/British English clash: dialog/dialogue. Just a waste of more letters to you, right?)

She Just Wants To Be

Third place entry in the Toy With Me competition.
Milik_Redman
Posted: Tuesday, June 05, 2012 6:36:21 AM

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clum wrote:
Great question; I would also like some clarification on this. When I find myself in these situations, I find the best thing to do is decide on a way and stay consistent. However, I would love to know what the accepted "good practice" is.

(Milik - another American/British English clash: dialog/dialogue. Just a waste of more letters to you, right?)


I think it's the French influence. They LOVE to waste letters!
Guest
Posted: Tuesday, June 05, 2012 2:18:59 PM

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A great deal depends on whom the narrator of the story is, the Point of View, who knows what, etc. If you visualize the story like a live stage play, we (the audience/reader) cannot hear the thoughts of the characters so they must be portrayed through actions or dialogue. In most cases, the inner thoughts of a character are superfluous, if their actions and dialogue convey what is intended. So that eliminates the need for one style of dialgue. Or it can be summed up while a character is alone and ruminating or reflecting what has happened in retrospect.

Written communications are usually set in place by introductory descriptions, such as "She read his email..." etc. If they are communicating via IM or google chat, I think it should be treated as normal dialogue with again a set up that the reader knows that is how they are communicating.

One thing with dialogue I always find superfluous are examples like -- "What are you doing?" she inquired -- it's obvious this is a question from the question mark, why add that she "inquired"? It is unnecessary and adds absolutely no new information.
Milik_Redman
Posted: Tuesday, June 05, 2012 2:53:05 PM

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Normally I write in 3rd person, past tense. My view point may shift from time to time but obviously one needs to be careful with that technique.

I do understand that one is better off allowing the actions of the characters to carry the weight of the plot. To much dialog explaining the why of every action is akin to writing on flypaper.

Still, I wonder if there are set rules on how the various types of dialog are punctuated.
Magical_felix
Posted: Tuesday, June 05, 2012 3:02:28 PM

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WmCutterBlack wrote:
A great deal depends on whom the narrator of the story is, the Point of View, who knows what, etc. If you visualize the story like a live stage play, we (the audience/reader) cannot hear the thoughts of the characters so they must be portrayed through actions or dialogue. In most cases, the inner thoughts of a character are superfluous, if their actions and dialogue convey what is intended. So that eliminates the need for one style of dialgue. Or it can be summed up while a character is alone and ruminating or reflecting what has happened in retrospect.

Written communications are usually set in place by introductory descriptions, such as "She read his email..." etc. If they are communicating via IM or google chat, I think it should be treated as normal dialogue with again a set up that the reader knows that is how they are communicating.

One thing with dialogue I always find superfluous are examples like -- "What are you doing?" she inquired -- it's obvious this is a question from the question mark, why add that she "inquired"? It is unnecessary and adds absolutely no new information.


Well, she is asking a question so you either say "she inquired" or "she asked" etc. Its not so much about stating wether it's a question or not, it's more about attributing the dialogue to a character to avoid confusion.

What I see the most in books. If its spoken dialogue then it belongs in quotes. Thoughts I have seen in italics. And written notes and such not in italics or quotes but indented in. So it looks like a floating block of text.



Milik_Redman
Posted: Tuesday, June 05, 2012 3:09:05 PM

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Magical_felix wrote:


Well, she is asking a question so you either say "she inquired" or "she asked" etc. Its not so much about stating wether it's a question or not, it's more about attributing the dialogue to a character to avoid confusion.

What I see the most in books. If its spoken dialogue then it belongs in quotes. Thoughts I have seen in italics. And written notes and such not in italics or quotes but indented in. So it looks like a floating block of text.


A floating box of text. That is an excellent point. That is something I will have to remember.
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