Friday, December 13, 2013

Indenting and Dialogue

It's been a long couple of days. Blogger wouldn't let me on until last night. Everything is back on line now, so here is a writing post. Have fun! (I will post a Fan Story by Eve tomorrow.)

Somebody asked how to know when to indent. The easy answer is "When if feels right!"
One important reason to indent is to keep lots of "white space" in your story. Readers do not like a whole page of print. Nothing drives me crazier than seeing all those words!

For example, I love Lord of the Rings, but I do a lot of skimming. I see all this print and it just does something crazy to me. Those old-time authors were notorious for writing long, ponderous sentences that sometimes took up an entire page!

Another reason to indent is when you are changing characters or subjects. Perhaps Andi has been riding her horse and she comes into town and sees Cory doing something interesting. When I go to describe exactly what that is, I would start a new paragraph to give readers a clean "break" from what Andi is doing to what she is seeing.

One of the big rules of indenting has to do with dialogue (characters talking). The rule is: When a new character talks, indent.

Easier said then done. Trust me on this. You turn in your fan stories and I format them to look "right" on the blog. I know the Blogger Contact Form scrambles your stories. Talk about ONE BIG PAGE OF PRINT! Yes, that is what I sometimes see. However, if you have indented correctly, there is a way to fix it all at once. Some, however, have run all the dialogue together, and I have to indent it by hand, so the blog readers will know who is talking.

Here is an example of how important it is to indent. Can you figure out who is saying what? If you have read the story before, you probably can. But think of a new reader.


“No, I’m a bad Faun. I don’t suppose there ever was a worse Faun since the beginning of the world.” “But what have you done?” Lucy asked. “My old father, now, that’s his picture over the mantelpiece. He would never have done a thing like this.” “A thing like what?” “Like what I’ve done. Taken service under the White Witch. That’s what I am. I’m in the pay of the White Witch.” “The White Witch? Who’s she?” “Why, it is she that has got all Narnia under her thumb. It’s she that makes it always winter. Always winter and never Christmas. Think of that!” “How awful!”
 

 Now, I will write it so you can read it. I don't have everything in it from the original book, as this is a quick lesson.



       “No, I’m a bad Faun. I don’t suppose there ever was a worse Faun since the beginning of the world.”  
        “But what have you done?”  Lucy asked.
        “My old father, now, that’s his picture over the mantelpiece. He would never have done a thing like this.” 
        “A thing like what?” 
        “Like what I’ve done. Taken service under the White Witch. That’s what I am. I’m in the pay of the White Witch.” Mr. Tumnus said.
         “The White Witch? Who’s she?” 
         “Why, it is she that has got all Narnia under her thumb. It’s she that makes it always winter. Always winter and never Christmas. Think of that!” 
          “How awful!”

I hope that answered your question. Learning to properly use indenting skills in your stories makes them much easier to read!

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5 comments:

  1. That makes it soo much easier to understand!!! Thanks!

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  2. Thank you! Our two growing blessings have been told this over and over. They are both avid readers but their writing still needs help. Being able to show them your example here from such a wonderful book was fantastic! They love your books so I knew I could show them your example. Thank you! Sincerely, Mommy of two growing blessings & so much more!

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad this little post could be of help to your growing blessings! :-)

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  3. oh thats from The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe!!

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  4. Oh, this helps! Thanks :)

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Let Andi know what you think!