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  1. #1
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    Basic writing questions

    Some questions I've wondered about in writing my novel is:

    Is it necessary when it is clear that two people are speaking to each other, to end their thoughts with, "He said, she replied," etc. It's tedious to do this.

    My chapters for the most part, follow a character, then the scene changes to another character who plays a role in that character's life. Should a new chapter be started?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by tjm; 07-11-2014 at 02:35 PM. Reason: misspelling, clarifying questions



  2. #2
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjm View Post
    Is it necessary when it is clear that two people are speaking to each other, to end their thoughts with, "He said, she replied," etc. It's tedious to do this.
    No, it's not necessary, and generally undesirable, other than to keep the reader synched up during a long conversation. You should be able to exchange several sentences without needed to remind us who just said what; if your dialog doesn't make it clear, consider rewriting it. That said, you may need an occasional "he said/she said" to add color and variety ("Gilfindel is my favorite author," she whispered in his ear.), or to include an adverb where the wording itself doesn't convey the full sense of what's going on ("His grasp of English grammar is amazing," she said silkily.)

    Quote Originally Posted by tjm View Post
    My chapters for the most part, follow a character, then the scene changes to another character who plays a role in that character's life. Should a new chapter be started?
    This really depends on the context. To me, a chapter is a relatively self-contained portion of the story, an act in a play. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and usually some crisis that the character must deal with before moving on. The chapter ends when the situation (large or small) is dealt with (or when I throw in a cliff-hanger to make the reader keep turning those pages). Think of it this way: end the chapter when it's time for the reader to pause and think about what's just happened and what's likely to happen next.

  3. #3
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    Thanks, that's really helpful.

  4. #4
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    I suppose one way to denote the speaker in long pieces of dialog without using "he said" is to find a reason to have a character reference an experience or state an opinion that the reader knows to identify with them. Though if you can't find a way to do it elegantly, you're probably better off just tossing in a quick "he said" and not worrying about it.

    I recommend that you use adverbs and alternate speaking verbs sparingly. Let the characters convey their tones without help whenever they can, and save the synonyms for when they can't.

  5. #5
    Administrator Wickett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjm View Post
    My chapters for the most part, follow a character, then the scene changes to another character who plays a role in that character's life. Should a new chapter be started?

    Thanks.
    I'm in agreement with Gil on this one. It completely depends on your book and the story flow. I like to use chapters as paragraphs. Each chapter is a complete thought or portion of the story. If your book is centered around different characters who come into contact with your main character, then I think that would be a good way to determine chapters.

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