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  1. #11
    Joseph Canavan
    Guest

    Re: mechanics of sudden changes??

    Irvine Welshe uses ellipses as dialogue indicators in some works, you have to be a pretty damn good writer to be able to pull of rampant use.



  2. #12
    Chuck Shaw
    Guest

    Re: mechanics of sudden changes??


    Bea-amazing-I actually was using them according to CMS-that's scary!

    I think I can get away with it (ellipses) as a dialog device to differentiate one character's speech, provided he doesn't have a lot of exposure. Coming up with specific speech patterns to differentiate people without making the dialog artificial is ...interesting.

    To get back to the original thread, JL pointed out “--“ as a delineator between relaxed and blind-sided by action.

    Any thoughts beyond changing the sentence length (long and lazy to short and sharp) and type of verbs (non violent or passive to active and snappy)?

    Alistair Maclean used metaphors, but I doubt that would wash today, and I agree the "WHAM!" is kind of Batmanny.

    Thanks to all for the time and thought

    CS

  3. #13
    martin shaw
    Guest

    Re: mechanics of sudden changes??

    Twist the story to suit the action. The word suddenly takes you through the door on its own. Also, other peoples initial reactions and the reactions of animals can be used pretty well.

  4. #14
    martin shaw
    Guest

    Re: mechanics of sudden changes??

    Twist the story to suit the action. The word 'suddenly' takes you through the door on its own. Also, other peoples initial reactions and the reactions of animals can be used pretty well.

    Sorry... tired today

  5. #15
    sam albion
    Guest

    Re: mechanics of sudden changes??


    ellipses in dialogue are great, I think. Yes, they should be used sparingly, but they are useful.

    I don't think you should use them outside of dialogue, though, unless the text is written as a first person narrative and the character is being deliberately obtuse or, te character is describing something unusual and is searching for the right word.

    ".. Michael was, well... naive, even if he held a Ph.D, and Rebecca.." et cetera...

  6. #16
    Janice W-D
    Guest

    Re: mechanics of sudden changes??

    Chuck,

    Your first example lacked quote marks so I assumed it was narrative, not dialogue.

    Josh,
    -- is used to denote interrupted dialogue. An interruption can be caused by another speaker talking on top of the first one, or by a bomb exploding or some such.

    Bea said:
    Traditionally, ellipses are used to omit words within a quotation. However, The Chicago Manual of Style states, “Ellipsis points suggest faltering or fragmented speech accompanied by confusion, insecurity, distress, or uncertainty.”

    When using them in that way, it should be done sparingly. It gets old fast if they're rampant.


    Amen. I used to like ... until an agent an agent told me the overuse of ..., --, !, ___ and italics are a hallmark of newbie writers.

    We see commas, periods and quotation marks so frequently that they glide right past our eyes. Now contrast that with how the other punctuation above jumps out at us.

    Lots of agents have said in interviews that they (or their assistant) dives into the slush pile with the mind-set of, "How quickly can I find a flaw that allows me to guiltlessly reject this story and the fifty others underneath it?"

    Yes, good writing trumps all. However, knowing that agents skim read so they'll have time to actually eat a meal or two before going to bed in the wee hours, I'm not going to give them the ammunition to kill my dreams before they've had a chance to fully absorb my fantastic prose. ;-)

    Gradually, I learned how to show most of the pauses and interruptions with character actions instead of punctuation. I've also gotten better at recognizing when I need to scrap the whole scene because some of those ... and -- are punctuating pompous navel gazing.

    Best,
    Janice

  7. #17
    Chuck Shaw
    Guest

    Re: mechanics of sudden changes??

    Thanks to you all. I think I'm going to use the -- to indicate a broken off or interupted dialog or action and the ... to indicate a pause in dialog, both sparingly.

    Thanks again
    Chuck S.

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