Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Editing Hints

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I picked up a new tip on writing dialogue this morning. Of course, it means I have to go back and edit AGAIN... In any case, this came from www.writersreliefblog.com.

When using dialogue tags such as, "She said," or, "He snorted," non-speaking actions are not punctuated as tags and should be treated as separate sentences.

Consider the following example.

"No. I do not want to go with you," she said.

The dialogue is enclosed with quotation marks with the trailing comma within them. "She said," follows to end the sentence.

Now consider,

"No, I do not want to go with you," she snorted.

This should be revised as "She snorted." is not a speaking action. It should be its own sentence. Edited, this should read as follows:

"No. I do not want to go with you." She snorted with disgust.

Learn something new everyday... (Damn editing!)


  1. Or you could ignore the rule? Too many short sentences get REALLY annoying REALLY fast, and when you're talking about dialogue, that could be a problem.

  2. Yeah, I know what you mean, Ryan. I'm going to review my ms and see what it does to the flow and voice. Remeind me and I'll let you know. Say, did you read the post on my twitter account about historical fiction? What is it you're writing? Have you told me already? If so, tell me again.

  3. I don't have twitter, and I don't plan on getting one. I'm writing an intended series about a family's progress through the Civil War. The first book, which I'm looking forward to get published soon is from Fort Sumter to First Manassas. The second book is about 83,000 words so far.

  4. Excellent! But is it fiction or nonfiction?

    Also, I'd recommend you have the first edited before you continue. There's no telling what you'll learn and it might keep you from having as much rewriting to do on subsequent manuscripts.

    As to twittering, if you wish to get published, it's required to have a large following. (And it takes at least a year to develop correctly.) Publishers see each follower as a near guaranteed sale. Without it, they have a reason to reject you and you should give them as few of those as possible.

    Just my way of looking at things.

  5. It is fiction. And I don't want a twitter because for the last two social sites, (myspace and facebook), I got them because everyone else had one. And now I promised myself not to be a robot in society and do whatever everyone else does. Secondly, I don't want to be part of a global panic when the damned thing goes down for like 6 hours. There's bigger problems.

  6. I do understand. However, keep an open mind when the day comes. I'm glad it's fiction and I'll want to read it someday.

  7. I'm similarily looking forward to your own work, but I for some reason thought it was the Hancock-Armistead book you had talked about, then when I read what you had for a description, it wasn't that?