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Thread: How often do you skip lines with dialogue?

  1. #1
    Stargirl128
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    Question How often do you skip lines with dialogue?

    When you're writing the story how often do you have to skip a line? How do you know when the speech is supposed to be part of a paragraph? I'm having trouble but I can't find anything that will help me.
    *SPIRIT*

    Rejected 7 times but if I gave up now my protagonist would be very angry with me.


    p.s. working on book 1 for the 12th time, working on book number two that has nothing to do with book number 1

  2. #2
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    A new speaker gets a new paragraph.

    Skip lines?

  3. #3
    Snow? Already? Shadow_Ferret's Avatar
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    Not sure what your question is.

    For short dialog, each speaker's part of the convo is a paragraph. If one speaker gives an extended speech that is very long, then it follows the same rules any other paragraph does... in other words, you decide how long you want the paragraph and where it gets broken up into several paragraphs. Each paragraph begins with a quote ("), but only the last paragraph of the speech ends with a close quote.
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  4. #4
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
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    How is this treated in dialogue in the books you've read?
    Everything yields to treatment.

  5. #5
    That hairy-handed gent
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    Ditto what Bufty said. Dialogue format is handled in a standard manner in most novels. Go look at some.

    caw

  6. #6
    Scribbler SuperModerator dpaterso's Avatar
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    When you say "skip a line" you mean begin a new paragraph, yes?

    The same character's actions and dialogue can share a paragraph, e.g. Bill picked up the newspaper and read the front page. "I see your harlot sister has made the headlines again." He sipped his coffee, aware of his wife's frosty glare.

    If another character speaks, or an unrelated action takes place, you'd start a new paragraph.

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  7. #7
    Sheriff Bullwinkle the Poet says: RJK's Avatar
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    I think the OP meant she's having trouble with the actual dialog. The second character's responses, etc. The only answer to that is to listen to people talk. Pick up how they respond to each other. Also, READ. learn how other authors do it.

  8. #8
    Monkeys are evil profen4's Avatar
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    I believe, and please correct me if I am wrong, that the actions of one person and the dialogue of another, can not be in the same paragraph. though this might not be the case for novels written with 1st person narration (or is it?)
    ao nguc paltal ao lot nam dep chau tam cho be thoi trang cong so vay lien cong so cho thue trang phuc chup anh
    As an example:
    John grabbed his bag and ran for the door. "Where do you think you're going?" his mother asked.

    should be:
    John grabbed his bag and ran for the door.

    "Where do you think you're going?" his mother asked.
    Last edited by profen4; 05-14-2013 at 06:41 PM.

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  9. #9
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
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    Don't know where you got that from, RJ -
    I hope the OP returns to clarify what her real problem is -if it hasn't already been answered.

    Quote Originally Posted by RJK View Post
    I think the OP meant she's having trouble with the actual dialog. The second character's responses, etc. The only answer to that is to listen to people talk. Pick up how they respond to each other. Also, READ. learn how other authors do it.
    Everything yields to treatment.

  10. #10
    looking for a home Patrick L's Avatar
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    I've not had occasion to do it, but yes, often in books where the character has a long dialog sequence, a new paragraph will be started. I believe they treat the end of the former paragraph without end quotes, but will show quotes at the beginning of the following paragraph. Clancy does this often.

    I would help the reader, but that's just me.

  11. #11
    Creepy Centipede Chasing the Horizon's Avatar
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    Dialogue can be combined in the same paragraph with thoughts and/or actions as long as those thoughts and actions are from the same character as the dialogue and relate to it in some way. There should always be a paragraph break between one character's thoughts/actions/dialogue and another character's thoughts/action/dialogue.

    You don't actually skip an entire line (by hitting 'return' 'return') unless you're writing something to post on the internet. Normal manuscript format uses 'return' 'tab' to make a new paragraph.


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  12. #12
    Stargirl128
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    Okay dpaterso seems to have answered my question. Swhibs123 also asked my question better than I did. If you have dialogue like that how often would you skip a line?
    *SPIRIT*

    Rejected 7 times but if I gave up now my protagonist would be very angry with me.


    p.s. working on book 1 for the 12th time, working on book number two that has nothing to do with book number 1

  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW bonitakale's Avatar
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    Yes, that's not a grammatical necessity, but it makes for much easier reading.

    stargurl128, you don't skip any lines. You set your word processor for 'double space' and it automatically puts all the lines one line apart. To end a paragraph, you hit Hard Return, and indent the first line of the next paragraph. No extra lines skipped between.





    Quote Originally Posted by swhibs123 View Post
    I believe, and please correct me if I am wrong, that the actions of one person and the dialogue of another, can not be in the same paragraph. though this might not be the case for novels written with 1st person narration (or is it?)

    As an example:
    John grabbed his bag and ran for the door. "Where do you think you're going?" his mother asked.

    should be:
    John grabbed his bag and ran for the door.

    "Where do you think you're going?" his mother asked.

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