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February 20, 2007

One speaker per paragraph!

Kennedy, ''Short Stories: 10 Tips'' -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

"Each speaker gets his/her own paragraph, and the paragraph includes whatever you wish to say about what the character is doing when speaking."

I didn't realize this when I wrote my presubmission. I did realize as I was writing that my dialogue seemed a little awkward, but I didn't think to give each speaker their own paragraph. Does that mean that I should indent each time someone talks? On the short story tips page, it doesn't look like the new dialogue is being indented. However, I would think if it's a new paragraph, it should be indented. Any ideas guys?

Posted by CheraPupi at February 20, 2007 10:37 AM


I tend to indent with each new piece of dialogue. That kind of seems like what they're doing on the Short Story Tips page. Sometimes they separate pieces of dialogue with a sentence, but if it's in the same paragraph, it's the same character speaking. They also tend to put descriptions of what the character's doing while he or she is saying the dialogue in the same paragraph as the dialogue being described. For instance: "John sat up. 'Wh--where are you going?'" They're not saying "John said," but by stating that a character did something and then putting a piece of dialogue in the same paragraph, they are able to clearly indicate who's speaking without having to repeat "John said" all the time.

Posted by: Matt Henderson at February 20, 2007 1:19 PM

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