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Quote in paragraph question.

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Svrtnsse, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    I'm working on a conversation at the moment and I've been trying to read up a bit on what to do an not to do. There's a rule about how if a quote is part of a paragraph then only the person speaking should be active in the paragraph. I get the idea behind that, but I found myself breaking the rule here:

    Linus is meant to be the one doing the talking and the paragraph starts out referring to Linus but then goes on to be about Enar instead. Personally I feel it's clear enough that it's not Enar speaking, but then I'm the one writing it so I may have a bit too much background insight.

    What are your thoughts? Is it okay to break the rule here as it's obvious who's talking or would I be better off rewriting the paragraph?
     
  2. Butterfly

    Butterfly Auror

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    It is clear, but Personally, I would end Linus line at... 'wide eyes.'

    Then have... 'Enar started...' on a separate paragraph...

    and continue those questions on another.
     
    Svrtnsse likes this.
  3. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    You could probably get away with it. But IMHO I would break it up and start a new paragraph where Enar starts to feel awkward. To me, there's a beat there that isn't played out with the way it is now. What I mean is ending the paragraph after "wide eyes" and starting a new paragraph leaves the image of Linus staring with wide eyes in the reader's mind for a moment longer, invoking a little bit of that awkwardness Enar feels.

    Generally, the last thing mentioned in a sentence tends to stick in the reader's mind more. In this instance, because it's in the middle of the sentenc, that look with the wide eyes gets less notice and leaves less of an impression.
     
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  4. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    Thanks guys. I've changed it as you suggested. Much appreciated.
     
  5. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

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    Personally, I tend to fudge this rule a bit, but only if I have the non-speaking character making small responses to the speaker, and only if it is absolutely clear who is speaking.

    For example...
    While the woman dominates the conversation, I keep it all one paragraph, interjected with Etienne's non-verbal responses. With the rapid back-and-forth, I think to break up this paragraph just for his movements and shrugging would result in a choppy interchange which wasn't the feel I was going for. Only when Etienne actually speaks do I start a new paragraph.

    That being said, I would agree with the others that a natural paragraph break in your selection should come after "wide eyes." This is because Enar's response, while non-verbal, dominates the rest of the section.
     
  6. Xaysai

    Xaysai Inkling

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    Xayai's eyes widened as he read the original post, and then he shrieked in horror.

    "Oh dear, someone bury this post before BWFoster78 sees it or we are all going to get grounded for a week."

    He quickly closed the thread.

    "I wasn't here. You didn't see me. Got it?"
     
  7. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    "How can I learn to fight the bear if it's sleeping all the time?" said Svrtnsse and poked the bear in the eye.


    ---
    For reference, here's how I changed the paragraph:
    ...like everyone said.
     
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