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Thread: Is this two paragraphs or one?

  1. #1
    Mentoring Myself and Others Debbie V's Avatar
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    Is this two paragraphs or one?

    Jon'than glanced at Terri. "You already are," they said. "And for much more time," Terri added.

    I've been trying to find info on the convention for this and had no luck. Thanks for any help or pointers to webpages that will help.

    -Debbie

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW srgalactica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debbie V View Post
    Jon'than glanced at Terri. "You already are," they said. "And for much more time," Terri added.

    I've been trying to find info on the convention for this and had no luck. Thanks for any help or pointers to webpages that will help.

    -Debbie
    Ok. I'm probably totally wrong, but I guess a good way for me to learn is to say what I think it should be and then people who know better can correct me. I'm not sure who 'they' are.

    Jon'than glanced at Terri. "You already are," they said.

    "And for much more time," Terri added.



  3. #3
    Memorial Day Weekend SuperModerator alleycat's Avatar
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    I'm not sure I even understand it.

    Is Terri saying that "they said"? Or, are there other people around who are a collective "they"?



  4. #4
    Pyrosama pyrosama's Avatar
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    I agree with two.

  5. #5
    resident curmudgeon
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    When you change speakers, change paragraphs.

  6. #6
    The Crazy Man in the Sun. Feel me. WillSauger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesaritchie View Post
    When you change speakers, change paragraphs.
    This.

    I'm guessing you were thinking it was two because maybe one speaker was part of "they".
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  7. #7
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesaritchie View Post
    When you change speakers, change paragraphs.
    Twoing....I mean seconding this.
    Susan

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  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW rwm4768's Avatar
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    As I'm interpreting it, they're both speaking the first line of dialogue, then only Teri is speaking the second line. I would put it in different paragraphs because it bothers me when similar constructions are put in the same paragraph.

    Also, random thing that bothered me: I'm not sure I'd want to read a whole book where the character's name is spelled Jon'than. I know it's supposed to read like Jonathan, but I read it is Jon than at first, and it made no sense.

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW
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    Or maybe Jon'than is a gender-neutral character? In which case they are speaking the 'they' line. In which case, start a new para after 'they said'.

  10. #10
    Mentoring Myself and Others Debbie V's Avatar
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    Jon'than and Terri speak the first part, they are the they. She speaks the second part alone. I'll go with the two paragraphs.

    The apostrophe in his name is explained in two different ways by the end of chapter two- the narrator gives one explanation and Jon'than gives his mom's explanation. Most of my beta readers started calling him Jonathan pretty early on - the apostrophe becomes irrelevant in the reading, but not to the reader.

    Thanks for the help.

  11. #11
    I agree with Roxxsmom.
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    Jon'than glanced at Terri, and then both said, "You already are," and Terri added, "And for much more time."
    Last edited by guttersquid; 12-21-2012 at 11:53 PM. Reason: the was supposed to be then

  12. #12
    Resident Alien Reziac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by guttersquid View Post
    Jon'than glanced at Terri, and the both said, "You already are," and Terri added, "And for much more time."
    I'd go with this one. It separates the "both" and "Terri" dialog yet lets Terri's identity "overlap" the two bits.

    [I've got a few bits in my stuff with similar structure.]
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  13. #13
    The grad students did it NeuroFizz's Avatar
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    JAR is right, but in this case, it could go either way--the second utterance is said by one of the simultaneous speakers, so it is a sort of continuation of a character's dialogue. On the other hand, it is different in that they both are not speaking the second line. So I could see it as either one or two paragraphs. If you are going for traditional publishing, it will go through professional editing, so there will be a chance for another input on your choice.

    Something separate, though, is emphasis. I presume you have them saying the exact same thing for emphasis, and one way to make that simultaneous dialogue stand out would be to place the following line as a separate paragraph. And while we are on emphasis, any line of dialogue we want to surprise the reader should be presented with the dialogue first and the attribution after. Otherwise some of the surprise of the words is blunted. So, to use the last mentioned example, it would be something like:

    Jon'than glanced at Terri. "You already are," they both said in unison.

    "And for much more time," Terri added.



    If I wanted even more surprise and emphasis at the simultaneous dialogue, I'd eliminate the 'Jon'than glanced at Terri' part and just lead with the dialogue. This would be a good thing to eliminate if you are finding you have a plethora of glances and looks, and squints, and other forms of eyeballing.
    Last edited by NeuroFizz; 12-21-2012 at 06:35 PM.
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  14. #14
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
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    Out-of-context snippets are never easy for outsiders to fix.

    Does simply tinkering with paragraphs really make it any clearer?

    Why not rephrase it so the meaning is clear without any headscratching?
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeuroFizz View Post
    JAR is right, but in this case, it could go either way--the second utterance is said by one of the simultaneous speakers, so it is a sort of continuation of a character's dialogue. On the other hand, it is different in that they both are not speaking the second line. So I could see it as either one or two paragraphs. If you are going for traditional publishing, it will go through professional editing, so there will be a chance for another input on your choice.

    Something separate, though, is emphasis. I presume you have them saying the exact same thing for emphasis, and one way to make that simultaneous dialogue stand out would be to place the following line as a separate paragraph. And while we are on emphasis, any line of dialogue we want to surprise the reader should be presented with the dialogue first and the attribution after. Otherwise some of the surprise of the words is blunted. So, to use the last mentioned example, it would be something like:

    Jon'than glanced at Terri. "You already are," they both said in unison.

    "And for much more time," Terri added.


    If I wanted even more surprise and emphasis at the simultaneous dialogue, I'd eliminate the 'Jon'than glanced at Terri' part and just lead with the dialogue. This would be a good thing to eliminate if you are finding you have a plethora of glances and looks, and squints, and other forms of eyeballing.
    That is an excellent explanation.

  16. #16
    Mentoring Myself and Others Debbie V's Avatar
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    Thanks again, folks.

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