Paragraph returns in dialogue

Discussion in 'English Only' started by That's Capital, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. That's Capital Senior Member

    English-Ireland
    Hi there,

    I am formatting a fiction novel and have a quick question about the above. I am generally following the rule of new indented paragraph for a new speaker. However, if there is a paragraph of narrative leading into a piece of related dialogue should the dialogue run as a continuation of the same paragraph or should I always have a new paragraph, indented?

    For example, this is the last sentence in a paragraph:

    .....Mark was trying to digest what was being said. “Do we think John could have acted inappropriately?"
    “Yes definitely,” said Susan.​


    or should it be

    .....Mark was trying to digest what was being said.
    “Do we think John could have acted inappropriately?"
    “Yes definitely,” said Susan.​





     
  2. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    Suppose that instead of an answer by Susan, the next sentence read:
    He mused on that for a few moments.
    In this case, if I understand you correctly, your existing practice is that “Do we think John could have acted inappropriately?" would be indented. Is that right?
    If so, why change it just because other dialogue follows?
     
  3. That's Capital Senior Member

    English-Ireland
    Sorry Wandle, I'm just getting confused now! I guess the most straightforward way of asking my question is should the start of a piece of dialogue always be indented, regardless of what comes before it?

     
  4. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    It's pretty much up to you, as a novelist, but I much prefer the second style—that is, indenting each new line of dialogue (or dialog).
     

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