Here I go again on dialogue and the use of quotations. In line with the recent posts on proper dialogue structure, I wanted to talk about something I personally try to avoid.

Long drawn out speeches. They are notoriously found with the vain, boss’s, teachers and the villains of the story. The more evil they are, the more they like to ramble.

I’ll admit I often sneak around long speeches of dialogue. Ideally, conversation or dialogue should be to the point and relevant to the story. However, there are times when someone must prattle on or explain something uninterrupted. If for whatever reason this can’t be done in narrative and absolutely must be done in dialog, then omitting quotation marks in a long speech is necessary. (Unless like me, I break long speeches up with action tags and moments of descriptive narrative or other people interrupting.

I’ll demonstrate with two paragraphs (Two is the minimum for this). Because when someone goes on a long-winded gum-flapping event, they should be making relevant points that are generally independent of the other, but part of the same speech.

To do this I will omit the quotation at the end of the first paragraph but start the second with one and end the second with quotations like this:

Valery turned to the group at the table. “Okay team, settle down. We have a lot to cover and not a lot of time to do it. As you all know, Sasha has been away and will likely be gone for a while. You have all worked very hard to cover her workload and your efforts are greatly appreciated. I need to ask you all to continue.

“Dale, I want you to take Trisha on as your apprentice. She needs to learn your job if I’m to move you up to senior graphics as we discussed this morning. It’s a little more work, but you can handle it. Oh and bring George into your team for the next while to cover layouts.

“Amber, The Dairy Co-op account has sent in their new requests and they completely negate all the work already done on the account. It is an entirely new approach and the project needs one person to take the reins. You are ready for this challenge and I know you won’t let me down.”

Amber nodded in understanding, doing her best not to let her glee show. She’d been waiting for this moment. A chance to shine and prove her worth.

I’m not always comfortable using this dialogue punctuation and try to avoid it by assessing the actual need for this lengthy dialogue. Honestly, it could be easily be summed up in one or two narrative sentences. If I do, I am careful to make sure what is said is important to the story. That it is imperative. I’ll take this opportunity to remind the readers that Sasha is missing, that Amber is stepping up to the plate even though she was, up until recently, a terrible worker and person. If none of that was relevant to the story or character development, I would have narrated for sure.

My advice about monologue-ing.
If it’s necessary, pack as much relevant information in as possible. Ask yourself if this could be better served as a spot of narrative. Or played out in a more exciting way within the story. Oh and punctuate it properly please.


Other rambling posts

What happened yesterday?

The “word count” down.

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7 thoughts on “Monologue-ing

  1. I do exactly what you do – “I break long speeches up with action tags and moments of descriptive narrative or other people interrupting.” The main reason is that I don’t want to make readers look for punctuation rules. It pops them out of the story. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post. Just recently I read a speech that went on for such a length, I had to go back and see who was talking! What a pain. I agree with you as well, if the novel has an authoritative figure, boss, teacher, preacher, then there’s probably a scene with a loooong speech, giving advice, telling some boring history. The long speeches that I can put up with are those that are incredibly interesting. THAT doesn’t happen too often. :-/
    Your advice is very good and applicable.
    Thanks for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Author Interview – J.J. Reichenbach – The Nix Series (Dark Fiction/Horror/Thriller) | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

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