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msd
04-05-2015, 09:13 PM
How would you write a pause in thought during conversation?

Example:
Let me see, okay I'll do it.
Let me see… okay I'll do it.

Osulagh
04-05-2015, 09:21 PM
Unless there's something that makes them pause and can be included as the reason they are doing so--which creates a pause in reading the thought--I don't see a point in delaying the thought.

Otherwise, ellipses can work.

Maythe
04-05-2015, 09:28 PM
You could include a beat. This is a pretty poor example but illustrates my point:

'Let me see,' he wandered over to the window and gazed down at the street. 'I'll do it.'

lizo27
04-05-2015, 09:30 PM
You could include a beat. This is a pretty poor example but illustrates my point:

'Let me see,' he wandered over to the window and gazed down at the street. 'I'll do it.'

Yes. Or: "Let me see." He paused a moment, as if in thought. "Okay. I'll do it."

Cathy C
04-05-2015, 09:39 PM
If you decide to use ellipses, be sure you use the correct format:

Word space dot space dot space dot space word

Let me see . . . Okay, I'll do it

Chase
04-05-2015, 09:50 PM
How would you write a pause in thought during conversation?

Example:
Let me see, okay I'll do it.

Not this way. It's a comma splice among other gaffes. Don't buy into the rationale saying bad punctuation is okay in dialog. Bad grammar may be okay, but punctuation is to help readers read.

For a perfectly natural pause: "Let me see. Okay, I'll do it."


How would you write a pause in thought during conversation?

Example:

Let me see… okay I'll do it.

The ellipsis is a great pause, but as Cathy advises, do it right: "Let me see . . . okay, I'll do it."

Maryn
04-05-2015, 10:54 PM
And be aware that some editors hate ellipses with a fiery passion and will remove every single one. Aim to not use more than a handful in a novel and maybe they'll let some remain.

Maryn, not a big user of ellipses, but guilty on dashes

Adversary
08-06-2015, 02:04 PM
Are you serious? Guess my writing aspirations are over then.

While I TRY and not overuse anything (I try to simplify if anything), I use these a lot. Pauses in thought, in where I'd like the reader to pause, in dialogue, everywhere. No one in the real world is a constant train of thought or speech. And using descriptions to describe every single break/pause in thought, speech or description would add ridiculously to the word count.

A handful per novel...??? I couldn't get it down to a handful per page. But then, I tend to write like I'd want it read... like it would be narrated, or even told around a campfire... and perhaps that is just not done? Or perhaps you did say 'some' editors... and I could hinge my hopes on that.

Fruitbat
08-06-2015, 02:42 PM
Yes, ellipses quickly get annoying.

If the pause is significant for some reason, okay, but usually we don't need to know every little pause and such. It gets to be like letting us in on the fact that the character breathed in, then breathed out. Or like someone who says "um" three times per sentence. :(

Bufty
08-06-2015, 06:36 PM
Give your readers some credit for being able to imagine how dialogue is spoken.

Concentrate on word choice and sentence construction and forget about plastering ellipses all over the page.


Are you serious? Guess my writing aspirations are over then.

While I TRY and not overuse anything (I try to simplify if anything), I use these a lot. Pauses in thought, in where I'd like the reader to pause, in dialogue, everywhere. No one in the real world is a constant train of thought or speech. And using descriptions to describe every single break/pause in thought, speech or description would add ridiculously to the word count.

A handful per novel...??? I couldn't get it down to a handful per page. But then, I tend to write like I'd want it read... like it would be narrated, or even told around a campfire... and perhaps that is just not done? Or perhaps you did say 'some' editors... and I could hinge my hopes on that.

Katana
08-19-2015, 06:14 AM
If you decide to use ellipses, be sure you use the correct format:

Word space dot space dot space dot space word

Let me see . . . Okay, I'll do it
Oh oh. So this means we shouldn't be inserting the ellipses symbol found in Word? It doesn't have any spaces.

blacbird
08-19-2015, 06:59 AM
The standard way to indicate a pause is with ellipsis, as CathyC has given an example. Can't see any reason not to do it that way.

The ellipsis symbol in Word is a Word idiocy. For a manuscript, just replace it with dot-space-dot-space dot.

caw

absitinvidia
08-19-2015, 08:15 AM
Oh oh. So this means we shouldn't be inserting the ellipses symbol found in Word? It doesn't have any spaces.


The copy editor will change it to match whatever the publisher wants. Just be consistent.

Twick
08-21-2015, 06:31 PM
Are you serious? Guess my writing aspirations are over then.

A handful per novel...??? I couldn't get it down to a handful per page. But then, I tend to write like I'd want it read... like it would be narrated, or even told around a campfire... and perhaps that is just not done? Or perhaps you did say 'some' editors... and I could hinge my hopes on that.

If that's actually how you write . . . like this . . . Well, it's not standard punctuation and is definitely not done, at least by publishable writers. Periods are what is done when you want the sentence to end. Commas, semicolons and colons are used within a sentence.

I'm not sure where this fad for the trailing ellipsis at the end of every phrases and sentence started, but it's well overdue to end. It does not make your reader think of "narration around a fire." It makes me think of someone reading the text like William Shatner. "Please . . . pass the salt . . . and the pepper . . ."

That, or they're suffering from some sort of serious lung disorder, and haven't enough breath to finish.

I don't think it's just "some" editors who will have problems with sentences that end like that. It will be most of them.

Jamesaritchie
08-21-2015, 08:16 PM
And be aware that some editors hate ellipses with a fiery passion and will remove every single one. Aim to not use more than a handful in a novel and maybe they'll let some remain.

Maryn, not a big user of ellipses, but guilty on dashes

I wouldn't allow an editor to remove ellipses. This is the writer's decision, not the editor's. Editors should not "let" anything like this stay or go. Writers are the ones who decide to let them stay or go.

But I've never met an editor who hated ellipses. Never. I've never had an editor remove an ellipses, or even bring up the subject. They're a very common way of indicating a pause, and have been for many decades. You can overdo anything, including ellipses, but my experience is that it's overuse an editor might dislike, whatever the overuse is, not the use itself.

Writers really need to understand more about the editing process after a book sells. The writer is in charge, or should be, not the editor. The editor makes suggestions, and the writer can take them or leave them. This includes such things as ellipses. When an editor tries to eliminate something like this, he's screwing with the writer's style, and no good editor does this.

culmo80
08-25-2015, 03:12 PM
Ellipses are a great tool to convey a pause in dialogue or thought.

Don't listen to what one editor or what one author says to do. I would recommend not listening to anyone who advocates an absolutist viewpoint on any writing technique, whether it's ellipses, semicolons, or adverbs.

blacbird
08-26-2015, 11:04 AM
Ellipsis is the correct and conventional way to do this. Just don't OVERdo it.

caw

Sloane
08-28-2015, 10:10 PM
I'm a pro editor. Ellipses is the standard. Although a few people here - the first was "Mayth" - suggested a beat in action. I really like that idea too. Someone said editors hate ellipses - I haven't run into this and I use a LOT of them in my own writing. I would guess that an editor who doesn't like them just doesn't understand them. LOL One word of caution, though, with ellipses: many editors avoid them because they are difficult to type set, traditionally. If you, for example, use an ellipsis in the Microsoft Word program, many a publisher's computer screen will read it in the end as some muddy combo of symbols. So always use three periods, separated by a space. Like this: . . .

VRanger
09-09-2015, 10:37 AM
First: good reading http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/ellipses?page=all

I use a comma as a technical tool to make sure the logic of my sentence transfers correctly to the reader.
I use the ellipse as a dramatic tool intended to coax the reader into thinking the pause I intend.
The article above will tell you to use the ellipse for a pause showing uncertainty, and a dash for a commanding pause. I probably won't do that because I find the dash to be visually weak.

I've never done the "separated by a space" format. Thanks for the tip.
(But - - - maybe I can use THREE dashes separated by a space for my commanding pause. :-)