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arail6
07-20-2018, 09:15 PM
I'm a bit confused by this, maybe someone can help and tell me which one is correct (if either is). Notice the commas at the ellipses.
Thanks for any advice you can offer.

"I didn't kill the girl ...," the two children glanced up when they heard the word kill, ",... in question. I wasn't even in town. "

"I didn't kill the girl ..." the two children glanced up when they heard the word kill, "... in question. I wasn't even in town. "

NateCrow
07-20-2018, 09:27 PM
Either option reads as a little clunky to me and it seems like too much for one sentence. I would write it as...

"I didn't kill the girl in question."
The two children glanced up when they heard the word kill.
"I wasn't even in town. "

Maggie Maxwell
07-20-2018, 09:36 PM
Neither. In that situation, the proper formatting would be with em-dashes and no commas or spaces.
"I didn't kill the girl"—the two children glanced up when they heard the word kill—"in question; I wasn't even in town. "

Nate's suggestion is also good. Smoother. I would recommend it, but since this kind of formatting is confusing, I figured I'd answer properly as well :)

aspirit
07-20-2018, 10:02 PM
In general, commas are not used beside ellipses in fiction. "I didn't kill the girl..." he said. The two children glanced up at word kill. He continued,"...the girl in question; I wasn't even in town."


"I didn't kill the girl"—the two children glanced up when they heard the word kill—"in question; I wasn't even in town. "

I agree that em-dashes are more appropriate but think they follow the same rules as commas. "I didn't kill the girl—" the two children glanced up when they heard the word kill— "in question; I wasn't even in town."

NateCrow's suggestion does work, too.

Sage
07-20-2018, 10:02 PM
Since you don't interrupt the dialogue with action right after the word that causes them to look up, there's no reason to wait a couple more words yet still break up a sentence.

If you insist on putting the interruption there, Maggie has the punctuation correct.

But you can easily stop the dialogue at the end of the first sentence, put the action there, and not deal with how to interrupt dialogue at all (at least for this example).

I would also put quotes around "kill" in "the word 'kill'"

Sage
07-20-2018, 10:04 PM
I agree that em-dashes are more appropriate but think they follow the same rules as commas. "I didn't kill the girl—" the two children glanced up when they heard the word kill— "in question; I wasn't even in town."

This is incorrect. The em-dashes go outside the dialogue marks and around the interruption.

http://theeditorsblog.net/2010/12/08/punctuation-in-dialogue/


Characters can pause in their words to do something and then resume the dialogue. If there is no dialogue tag, special punctuation is required to set off the action or thought.

Enclose the first part of the dialogue in quotation marks but omit the comma. Follow the end quotation mark with an em dash and the action or thought and then another em dash. Resume the dialogue with another opening quotation mark, complete the dialogue, and end with a period and a closing quotation mark. There are no spaces between the quotation marks and the dashes or between the dashes and the action/thought.

Thus the spoken words are within quotation marks and the action or thought is set off by the dashes.

“He loved you”—she pounded the wall with a heavy fist—“but you never cared.”

“He loved you”—at least she thought he had—“but you never cared.”

Compare this to a similar construction without dialogue:

He’d forgotten all about me—my heart ached at the thought—but I’d never forgotten him.

arail6
07-20-2018, 10:10 PM
Thanks for the replies.
You're right, the sentence is clunky, I wrote it to illustrate the question about commas and ellipses.
I like Maggie's suggestion but it made me realize I need to think more clearly about this.
I'm not paying enough attention to the difference between when a speaker pauses mid-sentence (ellipses) vs when the narrator pauses the narration to draw the readers attention to something happening.
In the sentences in my post, the speaker isn't pausing mid-sentence, the narrator is breaking the line to show the reader the children's response to what their father is saying.
Have to go over my manuscript with this in mind
Thanks again, very helpful

aspirit
07-20-2018, 11:32 PM
This is incorrect. The em-dashes go outside the dialogue marks and around the interruption.

http://theeditorsblog.net/2010/12/08/punctuation-in-dialogue/

Thanks for the link. While I disagree with that editor, I've learned not to correct the use of external dashes.


Thanks for the replies.

Good luck with editing!

BethS
07-21-2018, 08:28 AM
This is incorrect. The em-dashes go outside the dialogue marks and around the interruption.

http://theeditorsblog.net/2010/12/08/punctuation-in-dialogue/

Fwiw, I have also seen the em-dashes in similar situations put inside the quote marks. In published books. So it could be a house style thing? Or author preference, maybe.

DanielSTJ
07-26-2018, 02:21 AM
I would use dashes, as Maggie Maxwell has mentioned.