February 10, 2006, Newsletter Issue #49: Burying your dialogue

Tip of the Week

Sometimes its better not to use quoted speech in a story. This is true if what a character is saying can easily be summarized by the narrator. This is what we call "burying" the dialogue. Alternating passages of buried speech with quoted speech often improves the scenes rhythm. Here is an example of a line of speech we could easily bury, because its info can be summarized without sacrificing flavor:

"The shopgirl put the bracelet into a paper bag and rang him up.
Ill just put your receipt in the bag. she said."

We dont need to "hear" the clerk say shes going to put the receipt in the bag.

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