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Hello, dear friends! I'm looking for an opinion from you all. The last chapter of my T/C series involves a one-sided telephone conversation, and I'm not quite sure how to depict it. Would you let me know what you think?

In an earlier chapter I got around it by having reactions interspered, but I don't want to do that this time around; I just want the one-sided quotes of conversation.

Here are the options I see.

1. Have the character's responses just be separate lines of dialog to imply conversation, like this:

"Yes, I agree."

"No, I don't see what you mean."

"Are you sure?"

But that makes it look like a conversation between two people.

2. Have the conversation captured in one set of quotes with the responses divided by my old arch-enemy, the ellipsis, like this:

"Yes, I agree... No, I don't see what you mean... Are you sure?"

If I do that, do I capitalize the beginning of each new thought as in the example?

3. Same as #2, but using periods instead of the ellipsis, like this:

"Yes, I agree. No, I don't see what you mean. Are you sure?"

But that makes it look like one complete speech by the character.

4. Same as #1, but using the ellipsis instead of periods, like this:

"Yes, I agree..."

"No, I don't see what you mean..."

"Are you sure?"

That sort of feels right, but doesn't appeal much to my eye.

5. Any other suggestions anyone might care to offer.

You do realize, I hope, that I feel incredibly, totally geeky for asking this! But I am curious.

Thanks for whatever thought you care to offer. Even if it's just to tell me I'm an incredible, total geek. Hee! :D



( 20 thoughts — Share a thought )
Mar. 17th, 2007 04:26 pm (UTC)
I like #3, but if you feel it doesn't give enough sense of time elapsing between statements you could try a combination of #2 and #3 with periods and ellipses, like this:

"Yes, I agree. ... No, I don't see what you mean. ... Are you sure?"

It may not be punctuationally correct, but I think it would clearly denote that there are words which are being left out - those of the person on the other end - which is what ellipses are meant to do, and yet also give the sense that the person who is speaking does finish his sentences normally, doesn't trail off.
Mar. 17th, 2007 04:46 pm (UTC)
I vote for derien's idea. It makes more sense.
Mar. 17th, 2007 08:49 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I hear ya. Just not sure i like the way it looks. I know; I'm too picky!
Mar. 17th, 2007 08:48 pm (UTC)
I agree; I think it definitely gives the feeling that I'm going for. But I just think I quite like the way it looks. I'm not anything is going to make me happy for both look and feeling!

Thanks for your thoughts on this! :)
Mar. 17th, 2007 06:12 pm (UTC)
Hmm, I think I prefer #2. Derien's idea makes sense also, but it looks a bit inelegant to me, and I think #2 gets the idea across nearly as well. To answer your question about #2, yes, I think you should capitalize each sentence, because it is a new sentence, responding to what the other person said. I'd personally avoid separate lines of dialogue, with or without ellipses, because that does make it seem like two people talking to each other.

That said, I think it's largely a matter of personal preference, and any of those solutions would work.

I love talking about this stuff, so I'm a geek too, w00t! :D

p.s. Yay for space after ellipse! :P
Mar. 17th, 2007 08:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your thoughts on this, my dear fellow sistah geek! Hee! I think 2 came closest to both the look and feel I'm going for.

Hah for the ellipsis space! W00t! (See? I can be trained!)
Mar. 17th, 2007 06:24 pm (UTC)
I like #2 of your options, but you could also go the route of describing actions in between dialogue. Like the person says something, then listens, frowning and biting the bottom lip, then says something else, then nods thoughtfully. Or, you know, whatever's appropriate. That can work for a short conversation but gets cumbersome on a long one.
Mar. 17th, 2007 08:53 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I've been giving some thought to just using the reaction path. It definitely is the most clear way to accomplishing what I want. However, I want to limit myself to 200 words on that one (closing the series with a little chapter in honor of those little drabbles that started it all!). :D

Gah, I can't believe I'm nearly done!
Mar. 17th, 2007 06:41 pm (UTC)
I like #2 as well. It looks the best to me and I agree that you should capitalize each new thought.
Mar. 17th, 2007 08:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your thoughts on this! It seems as though #2 is the favorite!
Mar. 17th, 2007 07:27 pm (UTC)
The votes seem to be for #2, which I think will certainly work fine. :)
Mar. 17th, 2007 08:54 pm (UTC)
Frankly, I was surprised as how many responses I got to this. I guess my f-list is full of geeks like me. Huzzah!

*huggles my f-list*
Mar. 17th, 2007 10:08 pm (UTC)
I'm always up for talking about writing. :)
Mar. 17th, 2007 11:14 pm (UTC)
I'm really excited; I'm going to take a writing class next month. Nothing over fabulous; 6-week adult enrichment course offered by the public school district. But I've never taken any creative writing courses before, so I'm looking forward to it. I'm already thinking about NaNoWriMo! Eeek! :D

*loves my writin' pals!*

PS...Next chaper about to be posted. W00t!
Mar. 18th, 2007 12:43 am (UTC)
*totally butts in to conversation*

Ooh, that's exciting. Now, maybe I'm just a cynic, but I'd be willing to bet that you're already a better writer than anyone else in that class, teacher included. You should be teaching them. ;)

*loves you too!*

Eee! Can't wait for next chapter! Smexing ahoy!
Mar. 18th, 2007 03:00 am (UTC)
Aw, you are about the best ego booster a girl could ever ask for! Where you ever a cheerleader? :D

I think next semester I shall offer to teach a writing class: "The Fangirl's Guide to Writing Smex" alternately titled "Gay Porn: How to Take Your Fanfic Over the Rainbow"

Hee! :)
Mar. 18th, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC)
A cheerleader? Eek! Heaven forbid! :P

Haha! That would make a great class. :D
Mar. 18th, 2007 12:57 am (UTC)
Cool! I keep saying I want to take another creative writing class. I took one ... over fifteen years ago.

(I really wanted to do the Stonecoast Writer's Workshop, especially this last year as I believe they had James Patrick Kelley scheduled to teach - but that's a very expensive and intensive course.)
Mar. 18th, 2007 09:56 pm (UTC)
I thank #2 works best for me. I would say #1 but that would be the playwriter in me. And it does make it look like two people are talking.

Mar. 19th, 2007 07:51 am (UTC)
Thanks for your thoughts on this! #2 is the option I decided to use. :)
( 20 thoughts — Share a thought )