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Question:I have been told that when formatting dialogue for a fictional manuscript you are to start a new paragraph for every speaker but what *exactly* does this mean?

Does it mean that you just start the next speakers dialogue on the line directly below the first speaker by pressing the Enter (Return) key?

Or does it mean that you must press the Enter (Return) key twice and start the next speakers dialogue two lines below the first speaker?

Any help will be greatly appreciated as all these rules are really getting me confused.


Best Answer - Chosen by Asker: I have been told that when formatting dialogue for a fictional manuscript you are to start a new paragraph for every speaker but what *exactly* does this mean?

Does it mean that you just start the next speakers dialogue on the line directly below the first speaker by pressing the Enter (Return) key?

Or does it mean that you must press the Enter (Return) key twice and start the next speakers dialogue two lines below the first speaker?

Any help will be greatly appreciated as all these rules are really getting me confused.

Actually, all answers are incorrect except for GS. If you are working in Word, you have to go to "paragraphs" under "Format" and click on indentation "First Line" and spacing "Double Spaced. There is no space between paragraphs. Once you have the default set up that way, every time you hit the enter key, it will start a new paragraph for you automatically.

So it would be like this. Unfortunately, because of the way things print out here, I can only demonstrate this way.

(new paragraph and indentation) Jane was walking down

the street with her best friend Nancy. It was a hot day and

they were both eating ice cream cones. Suddenly, Fred

rode by on his bike and knocked the cone out of Jane's

hand and rode away.

(new paragraph and indentation)"Hey!" Jane said. "That

really wasn't nice."

(new paragraph and indentation)"Fred is just a jerk," Nancy

said. "Come on, let's go back to the ice cream parlor. I will

buy you a new cone. And this time, we'll eat it there."

(new paragraph and indentation) Fred rode by again, this

time laughing at the girls. His friend Bob was with him.

(new paragraph and indentation)Hey Nancy," Bob

laughed. "Did you drop something?"

(new paragraph and indentation)Shut up," Nancy replied.

"Why do you hang around with that moron Fred. Is he your

girlfriend or something?"

(new paragraph and indentation) Jane laughed. "Bob and

Fred sitting in a tree. KISSING!"

And so on and so forth. Always indented. Double spaced. No spaces in between. And always a new paragraph for a new speaker or when you are discussing a different thing. This is standard formatting.

Pax-C

Like this:

Paragraph paragraph paragraph paragraph paragraph paragraph paragraph paragraph paragraph paragraph paragraph paragraph paragraph paragraph paragraph.

"Someone say something" said someone.

"Someone says something else, but its really long and does not fit on a single line so it now looks like a paragraph of its own." said someone.

"Someone say something else." someone replied.

Uh ... Just like in a book, basically. (Except a manuscript should be double-spaced, rather than single-spaced ... and the right edge is not justified.)

Hit the return key and have the tab set the next paragraph starts with a five-space indent.

Also: remember that if your speaker speaks two successive paragraphs, you don't end the first with a closing quotation mark. (Again, just like in a book.)

new dialoge on the line below, but your manuscript should be in double line spaceing anyway. example.
"hi fred." said jane
"Hello jane." fred replied.
this looks better than.
"Hi fred." said jane. "Hello jane. fred replied.

why don't you look at how it's done in a book?

A new paragraph starts with an indent. You can format your computer to start the next line with an indent when you hit the enter key, if you have it set to wrap text.