Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » How should conversation be structured?

   
Author Topic: How should conversation be structured?
Crashburn274
Member
Member # 9687

 - posted      Profile for Crashburn274   Email Crashburn274         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
When I am writing a conversation between a talkative person and a quiet one, the introvert often responds without actually speaking. My instinct is to separate the introvert's gestures with new lines, as though the narration were dialogue, to preserve the form of the conversation.
Thank you!
Two examples:

That made me chuckle. "I did at that. Why'd you ever like her?"
Gavin looked at me oddly, then, as though I were a curiously shaped insect under a glass.
I tried to explain, "I mean, she was always a bit weird..."

Even if that form works, I need advice on another part of the same conversation. This time the narrator is putting words in Gavin's mouth, but the reader should not get the impression Gavin actually said them.
"I went to get the egg back," I said.
Gavin looked at me in that silent way of his, which I took to mean, "I'm listening, please go on."
"I changed my mind, I just couldn't do that to her..."

Posts: 15 | Registered: Nov 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Dialogue with interspersed actions basic paragraph syntax principle is to set apart each participant's actions and dialogue by paragraph.

The first example seems to me an action sentence, a dialogue line, a thought, and another dialogue line by the first person narrator. Gavin's action doesn't, to me, stand out independently from the narrator's thoughts.

Similarly, the second one, Gavin is secondary to the narrator's observations and thoughts reacting to Gavin's nonverbal expressions.

This clause, though, seems like tagged indirect thought. //which I took to mean, "I'm listening, please go on."// Because it's not direct discourse I'd suggest setting it without the comma and the quote marks, for reading ease.

Posts: 3542 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MartinV
Member
Member # 5512

 - posted      Profile for MartinV   Email MartinV         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The first example looks good to me. In fact, I'll try using it myself the next chance I get.

For the second it could get confusing. Perhaps instead of "" marks you could use some other way: italics, for example, though you can use a simple way: He nodded for me to continue or She looked confused so I added.

Posts: 1271 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Reziac
Member
Member # 9345

 - posted      Profile for Reziac   Email Reziac         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
When I have that kind of interaction, I tend to separate it if the silent action comes across as dialog, but not if it's part of the speaker's flow.

However, if your intent is to establish that this is how Gavin communicates, then it may be appropriate to separate it at a lower level, such as when it's a discrete response even tho unspoken.

I would use italics instead of quote marks in the 2nd example, as quote marks cue the reader to stop hearing the narrator's or POV's voice and start hearing the speaker's voice, and in this example that's not quite how it happens. Rather, the POV is thinking the other person's dialog, which basically makes it a discrete thought -- thus, italics, per my preferences, which cues us that it's still in the narrator/POV's voice.

Posts: 666 | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think either would work, since it's not about what Gavin says, but what "I" thinks he's saying. I wouldn't go with italics in the second example, though...
Posts: 8285 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2