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Dialogue Helper Edition

Helps you keep track of who's saying what
  [vote for,

Dialogue passage in novels usually start out user-friendly, with lots of "...Jack said" 's and "...she replied" 's. But after a few lines of that, the author wants you to be totally captured by the action, so they start leaving out all speaker tags whatsoever. By the next page, I have no idea who is saying which lines. Then I go back and re-read, and usually have to pencil in notes in the margin labeling who's saying each line.

There are plenty of annotated book editions out there, so how 'bout one that labels each line "R:" for Raskolnikov and "S" for Sviatoslav, when two people are talking?

Thank you.

phundug, Jul 15 2003

Ah, THERE it is... Has_20Anyone_20Seen_2e_2e_2e_3f
"Fluke, I am your father." Oh, [AusCan531], you slay me... [normzone, Sep 08 2016]


       J: “I went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.”
J: “I went up the hill, too.”
J: “I fell down and broke my crown.”
J: “I came tumbling after.”
FarmerJohn, Jul 15 2003

       Hmmm. Nice idea, however you won't know you need it until you get there, by which time you've (presumably) already bought/borrowed the non-annotated edition. So I think I'd rather just do what I usually do and re-read, remembering to pay attention this time.
egbert, Jul 15 2003

       Hemingway is spinning in his grave. But not because of this. He went on for pages at a time, not letting you know who's saying what. I think he got lost himself once after a long stretch of this.
oxen crossing, Jul 15 2003

       Now I AM confused I done read 73 pages, 5 paragraphs, one sentence, two words, and a comma of this book and there aint no Raskolnikov nor Sviatoslav in it nowhere. I dunno who is speakin to whom. There's a albino cetacean ( that don't say nothin, thankfully), a peg legg cap'n, and some crimnal usin a obvious alias; but no Raskolslav or Sviatonikov. I am really lost at sea, a few pages later I did come across an old Cuban and Hemingway carryin half a fish in a row boat. They was no help,the old man was all mystical and philosophically and only spoke Spanish or Allegorian or sumthin. Then Hemingway, or EH as I call him, spoke, " I speak for the trees," he, I mean EH, sez. But I dunno if he was talkin to me or the sea or the old man or the fish. He, EH that is, was loster than me. I didn't get the name of the half fish nor recognize it, its face was obscured by a bunch a punctuation that EH had dropped all over the bottom of the boat. It coulda been R, but I got a sneakin spicion it was S in disguise.
notmrjohn, May 01 2012

       M: Welcome to the HB, [notmrjohn]!   

       M: As to the idea: yes, it would be useful sometimes. But it would also be ugly, at least to anyone used to reading novels without the annotations. Perhaps people would get used to it (plays, after all, have all their lines prefixed by character names).   

       By the way, [nmj], I don't want to spoil the plot, but the guy with the peg leg is the whale's father.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 01 2012

       [CA] <in a deep, resonant voice> "Fluke, I am your father."
AusCan531, May 01 2012

       Talented authors find ways to identify characters within the dialogue itself. There are a number of tricks, from establishing accents or verbal mannerisms to simply having the characters address each other by name once in a while. Another good way to avoid the 'he said, she said' monotony is to weave a little activity into the dialogue, so the reader can identify characters by what they are doing.   

       Sadly, not all 'great' writers have discovered such techniques.
Alterother, May 01 2012

       Hey, whatever happened to [Alterother] ? And isn't there a recent idea on the front page about that question? He was going to take a break for a while...
normzone, Sep 08 2016


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