Pages

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dots or Commas?

Just yesterday, one of my friends asked if he could read my manuscript. I know this kid likes reading, so I gave him a copy and told him to let me know if he finds any mistakes. Well... he's done a great job so far. He'd read the first 12 chapters by this morning and came to me with a document of things I could change: spelling, wording, punctuation... mostly stuff an author misses in their own work, because they know how it's supposed to read and automatically reads it as such.

There were some suggestions I disagreed with however, but there was one particular instance which I thought I'd get a few more opinions on before I decided whether or not to go with it. A piece of the manuscript reads:

 "... oh my, my, my, my, my," she mumbled... 
My friend's suggestion is that instead of commas, I should use three dots (...). I disagree with this, but with a reason. I intend the reader to hear this being said very quickly and I believe that using the three dots will make them perceive this bit of dialogue as said slowly.

Is my reason valid enough, or do you think that it would be punctually incorrect for me to use commas instead of dots in this instance?

* Please note: the (...) at the beginning and end of the quote are not part of the original text. They are simply being used here to show that this is not the whole sentence the quote was taken from.  


Your input and thoughts would be lovely and much appreciated.

- Bonnee.

12 comments:

  1. Commas.

    Ellipsis are better used, in my opinion, at the end of sentence to denote trailing off, or occasionally in the middle of a sentence, such as '"I don't know...I think...maybe it could work," she said.'

    The thing is, when I read that bit of dialogue, I tend to hear it slow in my head to begin with, but that's without any context of action. Even if you wanted to slow it down more (which you don't, given what you said), I'd recommend popping an action in somewhere in the middle rather than ellipsis, such as "...oh my," she said, with a slow shake of her head. "my, my, my, my etc."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ellipsis! That's the word I was looking for :D Thank you!

      My apologies for the lack of context. The full sentence goes on to describe how clear her voice is despite how fast she had spoken. I probably should have given the full sentence.

      An action - or even just an interruption of the dialogue - might work a treat. Thank you for this suggestion and for your advice :)

      Delete
  2. It's great that your friend reads everything. Ask him also to give you comments about the story itself and for his ideas what and how to improve. You are right about using the commas if she says it quickly. One point to ponder is if you need to have 5 "my". A little bit to long and 3 "my" might be enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've told him to give me any and all criticism he has. We've workshopped a few sentences together now, it's great, I'll keep reminding him to look out for EVERYTHING.

      The number of "my" was another suggestion he gave me. He also suggested 3. For some reason, saying it fast makes me think of 5, but perhaps with a bit more tweaking (I've had suggestions in the comments here to break the dialogue up a little more) maybe 3 will flow better.

      Thank you for your input! :D

      Delete
  3. Hey,

    Reading this out loud, for me the commas work better than the ellipsis (...)

    Otherwise, I would suggest " oh my..." she said. "Oh my, my, my."

    Just my humble opinion :)

    PS... thanks for stopping by and for your very kind comments - I appreciate them :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well from the sounds of the feedback I'm getting, I'm keeping the commas. I detest repeating the "oh", but otherwise I quite like where you're going with your suggestion. Thank you for your humble opinion, it is much appreciated and very helpful!

      PS You're more than welcome!

      Delete
  4. The commas. An elipse means something is being left out. Which is why they work in the trailing off instance, because it's supposed to indicate that more could be said but wasn't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed, thank you for your insight :) Have a good day!

      Delete
  5. Sorry for the late comment! But yes, I agree with the other commenters - the commas definitely work better than the ellipsis. Like suggested, I too would think about shortening it to 'my, my, my'. I know what you mean with the five - I can hear it the way it's meant to be said in my head! - but for ease of reading, I think three works better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well that's that then I reckon! :) Haha well at least I know I'm not completely crazy about how many 'my's sounds right... Thanks :)

      Delete
  6. Enough said. I think the commas work fine. I really believe that people are normally right the first time. Good works often get destroyed after too much rewriting and second guessing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True, very true... there are just a handful of things I like to get a wider opinion on where I can. The advantages of blogging!

      Delete

Have your say.

Google+ Followers

Follow by Email