Direct Speech

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Tatzme
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Direct Speech

Postby Tatzme » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:37 am

Hello everyone,
I wanted to ask a question about direct speech here, because I couldn't find anything concerning my problem in the internet.
So, let me explain, I know how direct speech works, obviously, but I'm getting a little confused when it comes to one specific part. Let's say, Max and Allison are having a conversation:
"How was your day?", asked Max
"Great. I got promoted", answered Allison.
"Oh, congratulations"
-> Obviously the last sentence is said by Max, so there is no need to add anything like ", said Max". If I wanted to show an immediate reaction of Allison, how would I need to do the punctuation?
Would I need to do it like this?:
"Oh, congratualions", Allison was flattered by the positive words of Max.
Like that?:
"Oh, congratualions." Allison was flattered...
Or completely different?

I've been struggling with this for quite some time, so thanks a lot in advance for an answer :)

PS: I'm sorry for any mistakes concerning grammar, vocabulary or spelling - I'm not a native english speaker

Greetings, Jade (:

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ostarella
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Re: Direct Speech

Postby ostarella » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:13 am

You would want this:

"Oh, congratulations." Allison was flattered by the positive words of Max.

What she says is a different sentence from her reaction to what Max said.

plughmann
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Re: Direct Speech

Postby plughmann » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:05 am

[quote="Tatzme"]Hello everyone,
I wanted to ask a question about direct speech here, because I couldn't find anything concerning my problem in the internet.
So, let me explain, I know how direct speech works, obviously, but I'm getting a little confused when it comes to one specific part. Let's say, Max and Allison are having a conversation:
"How was your day?", asked Max
"Great. I got promoted", answered Allison.
"Oh, congratulations"
-> Obviously the last sentence is said by Max, so there is no need to add anything like ", said Max". If I wanted to show an immediate reaction of Allison, how would I need to do the punctuation?
Would I need to do it like this?:
"Oh, congratualions", Allison was flattered by the positive words of Max.
Like that?:
"Oh, congratualions." Allison was flattered...
Or completely different?

I've been struggling with this for quite some time, so thanks a lot in advance for an answer :)

PS: I'm sorry for any mistakes concerning grammar, vocabulary or spelling - I'm not a native english speaker

Greetings, Jade (:[/quote]


There are two sides to this issue. One side says to always identify the speaker. And they seem partial to keeping it short with a 'he said' type of identifier.

The other side says we can tell when two people are talking and there is no need to clutter up the interaction with elaboration after the first exchange. I prefer to offset one speaker with indentation to emphasise who said what.

Person one says...
......... Person two replies...
(One) continues
......... (Two) continues
etc
......... etc
Last edited by plughmann on Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

Tatzme
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Re: Direct Speech

Postby Tatzme » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:02 am

Thank you very much :)

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ostarella
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Re: Direct Speech

Postby ostarella » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:59 pm

[quote="plughmann"]
There are two sides to this issue. One side says to always identify the speaker. And they seem partial to keeping it short with a 'he said' type of identifier.

The other side says we can tell when two people are talking and there is no need to clutter up the interaction with elaboration after the first exchange. I prefer to offset one speaker with indentation to emphasise who said what.

Person one says...
......... Person two replies...
(One) continues
......... (Two) continues
etc
......... etc[/quote]

Very few experienced writers will always id the speaker - context should work for several exchanges before it's necessary to re-identify.

As to indenting, do you mean indenting paragraphs in general? I've never heard of doing it only for dialogue, or for only one speaker. How would you handle more than two speakers?

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wdarcy
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Re: Direct Speech

Postby wdarcy » Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:20 pm

Another thing: You don't write "said Max" these days, anymore than you would write "said he." It would always be "Max said."

Also, refrain from using expressions such as "Max answered," "Allison asked," "Max replied," etc. Use "said" as often as possible, even if the character is asking a question.

Finally, decide whose PoV you are in. If it's Max's, identify him at the beginning, then use "he said" from then on. Revert to his name only if there are more male speakers, to avoid confusion. This decreases what Steve Berry calls the" psychic distance" between the reader and the PoV character.

--Warren
"Wagner's 'Das Rheingold'" (Oxford 1993). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 1995.

"Elements of Sonata Theory" co-authored with James Hepokoski(Oxford 2006). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 2008.

plughmann
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Re: Direct Speech

Postby plughmann » Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:52 pm

[quote="wdarcy"]Another thing: You don't write "said Max" these days, anymore than you would write "said he." It would always be "Max said."

Also, refrain from using expressions such as "Max answered," "Allison asked," "Max replied," etc. Use "said" as often as possible, even if the character is asking a question.

Finally, decide whose PoV you are in. If it's Max's, identify him at the beginning, then use "he said" from then on. Revert to his name only if there are more male speakers, to avoid confusion. This decreases what Steve Berry calls the" psychic distance" between the reader and the PoV character.

--Warren[/quote]


That describes the first approach that is common.

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wdarcy
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Re: Direct Speech

Postby wdarcy » Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:26 pm

Hi, Plughmann. I didn't mean to imply that one should identify each speaker every time s/he speaks. I often write dialogues where the exchanges go on two, three, or more times before I re-identify who's speaking. I just meant that when one *does* identify a speaker by a dialogue tag, one should follow, or at least be aware of, the conventions I mentioned.

Sorry if I was not clear on this.

Warren
"Wagner's 'Das Rheingold'" (Oxford 1993). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 1995.

"Elements of Sonata Theory" co-authored with James Hepokoski(Oxford 2006). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 2008.

plughmann
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Re: Direct Speech

Postby plughmann » Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:57 pm

[quote="wdarcy"]Hi, Plughmann. I didn't mean to imply that one should identify each speaker every time s/he speaks. I often write dialogues where the exchanges go on two, three, or more times before I re-identify who's speaking. I just meant that when one *does* identify a speaker by a dialogue tag, one should follow, or at least be aware of, the conventions I mentioned.

Sorry if I was not clear on this.

Warren[/quote]

Roger that.
Of course you should identify them the first time. And repeat later if it was long and complicated to keep the reader in sync.

T.A.Rodgers
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Re: Direct Speech

Postby T.A.Rodgers » Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:14 am

Hi Tatzme,

You have some good advice from others. My two cents. As many said, you don't have to tag every dialog sentence. If the dialogue run smoothly, the reader will know. Another way to tag the speaker is to add emotion into the sentence versus a dialog tag. Instead of using was flattered, which could be considered passive, try using something more active like, Allison felt her cheeks warm with inspiration. Maybe not that sentence, but using an active voice usually means the reader is sensing the emotion rather than just reading it. I hope that makes sense.

Lastly, if you are tagging someone, the tag and dialog stay together. In your example where Max say congratulations, you do not put Allison's thoughts with Max's dialog.

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