SolZen here, here with another blog to help all aspiring writers. This time, it's the simple art of writing dialogue, conversations, whatever you want to call it, when two or more people are talking.
Note: This blog is written under the belief that the user undestand such terms as sentences and paragraphs (basically a basic understanding of grammar).
- Each new speaker starts a new paragraph: This starts from the first time someone speaks. You start a new paragraph and start the conversation. Once someone different speaks, you also start a new paragraph.
- A character's dialogue, when not interrupted, can continue in the same paragraph: This means, if someone talks and no one else talks afterwards, their dialogue can continue in the same paragraph.
- If you started a new paragraph, the same conversation can start a new paragraph: That is, if the direct above happens, and the same character talks again, you can go back to rule 1. I am not a 100% certain on whether you should start a new paragraph or continue on, but I generally start a new one in this case.
Why use these rules
These rules are what I have observed in professional books. Books that didn't use these rules, used an entirely different writing style than the norm, such as the Odysey which had everything in the form of one long poem. These rules make sure conversation run smoothly in the eyes and minds of the readers. They make sure things are easy to read and follow.
Now you may chose to go your own way and ignore these rules to be original, but there's a difference between innovative and counter productive.
"Hello..." said Person A
"Hey!" replied Person B
"It's been a while..." said Person A "how have you been?"
Person B responded "Oh, I'm fine."
This is an example of Rule 1, each time a different person spoke, a new paragraph was started to avoid clustering everything together. In truth, unless you wish to express emotion or something important in the background, you don't need to keep mentioning who is speaking. When you have three or more speaking, unless the speaker is someone different, you also don't need to identify them if they are the previous person who spoke immediately before the current character.
"Hello" said Person A. Person B stopped and waved at him, after taking a moment to figure out who he was. The two had not seen each other in years. "It's been a while, how have you been?"
Here is an example of Rule 2. Person A spoke, and there were non-dialogue sentences after his first comment, however, no other character spoke, thus it was fine to continue with his comments in the same paragraph.
"Really...?" Person A looked up. He sensed something, something in the back of his mind, a presence he did not want, not here not now. The ground shook and it rose up out of the earth, shattering cement and steel in its wake. The beast had a barrel shaped body covered in brown fur, but with a pair of large scally legs. It's arms sported claws, and its three heads, on long necks had feline like heads, with long ears and fangs too large for their mouths. It long snake like tail moved about, as if a seperate beast, smashing building and flinging around cars.
Person A grabbed Person B and ran with the crowd away from the monster, but he stopped as he saw the jets over head, flying towards the monster. They fired their missiles, but as the smoke cleared, it was clear they could do nothing to stop this thing. Person A knew what he had to do.
"Find shelter...!" he told Person B, who was confused. He let go of her hand and disappeared into the crowd, making his way into an alley. He pulled out a wand like device, and pressed the button on the side to become Ultraman.
So yeah, take note, between the second time Person A spoke and the first, there was a new paragraph. I could have left the new dialogue in the second paragraph, but spaces help make it easier to tell where your reading. Granted, don't start a paragraph for the sake of it. A paragraph should be started when the focus has changed, even if only slightly, hence the rules of Conversation/Dialogue.
The first paragraph started with A talking and continued with the arrival and description of the monster. Then the second paragraph was about A and B attampts to get away in the aftermath of the monster's arrival. The last paragraph started when the shift was made to A comment again, and the paragraph continued till he transformed.
Hopefully you have a better understanding of writting, so good luck and go create.