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Old 08-29-2013, 07:37 PM   #16
Penforhire
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I've read many of Cormac McCarthy's books. I appreciated most of them. But not for his unconventional punctuation. It adds nothing, IMO, and distracted me greatly.

I feel similarly about excessive use of regional dialect. It is sufficient to sprinkle a few words here and there to convey the flavor of the dialect. Most egregious example? Feersum Endjinn, by Iain M. Banks (RIP, and otherwise one of my favorite authors).
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:43 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by teh603 View Post
Just another step in Modernism. They can't write anything harder to understand than James Joyce without breaking stylistic rules, so that's the next logical step. In a few years, they're going to be using random text generators to make stuff the author himself can't even understand.
I present you The Postmodernism Generator:

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If one examines subsemioticist modernism, one is faced with a choice: either reject expressionism or conclude that language has objective value. Thus, in Mallrats, Smith examines the conceptual paradigm of discourse; in Clerks, however, he reiterates expressionism.
Each time you click on this link, you'll get a beautiful academic paper (plus references!) with high marks for style and polysyllabic lexicon
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:52 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
Simple. The current speaker is not done yet (but a new paragraph is called for).
Then... just start a new paragraph. The fact that I did not yet encounter a closing quote signals to me that the same person is still speaking, even if his monologue is five paragraphs long and spans two pages.

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The opening quote at the beginning of the next paragraphs reminds you that it's still an ongoing quotation.
I don't need (or actually, want) that reminder because....

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Otherwise, as Ripplinger mentioned, a closing quote and a new opening quote will often lead the reader to make the mistake of thinking that the first speaker has concluded and a different speaker has begun.
...this practice actually causes that mistake, at least for me, instead of preventing it, because I expect the dialog to go to the other speaker as soon as I see the opening quote.

I assume it is "illegal" to contain multiple paragraphs within two quotes, or it was, a long time ago?

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But to be perfectly honest, dialogue where one speaker continues over multiple paragraphs isn't all that common in most of today's popular fiction.
I've only seen it where one speaker was explaining something to another, in the role of a narrator or a teacher or something like that; I've never seen it in "normal" conversations.

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Hence, I think, why many people think it's a "mistake" whenever they encounter it. I find it helpful, myself (once I was clued in to how it worked).
Hm. To each his own then... but in my case, as said, this practice exactly causes me to make the mistake it tries to prevent.

Last edited by Katsunami; 08-29-2013 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:05 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Penforhire View Post
I feel similarly about excessive use of regional dialect. It is sufficient to sprinkle a few words here and there to convey the flavor of the dialect. Most egregious example? Feersum Endjinn, by Iain M. Banks (RIP, and otherwise one of my favorite authors).
As I've mentioned in another thread: David Eddings' Caalador does that too, often speaking multiple paragraphs in his hard-to-read regional dialect. Strangely enough, the characters in the book sometimes become highly annoyed because of it, so Eddings must have known that it is annoying.

Weird. A writer that purposefully does something to annoy his readers
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:10 PM   #20
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@Katsunami
Again: I'm perfectly fine with it not working for you ... for whatever reason. I was simply explaining the reasoning behind the existing accepted practice (and pointing out your mistake of thinking it was a mistake). You'll need to take up your objections concerning the practice with someone else. I can't change it. Besides, it all works fine for me the way it is.
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:19 PM   #21
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But you have a walking skull as an avatar! Therefore you must be able to do *something*?

Still no? Oh, ok. Darn.
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:41 PM   #22
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It's pretentious and irritating.
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:28 PM   #23
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I believe Umberto Eco did the same in 1980's The Name of the Rose. I haven't read it myself, but my husband tells me it is so. I doubt Eco was the first to employ this practice.
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:52 PM   #24
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Lack of quotation marks can come across as pretentious to me, definitely. If an author does use this quirk, the book has to be astonishingly well-written and thoroughly and competently edited for it to work, such that it is always transparent who's speaking and that they're speaking out loud. Otherwise it can degenerate into an incomprehensible mess, where you're constantly thrown out of the story.
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:32 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Istvan diVega View Post
Absolutely hate it. Hyphens, quotation marks or whatever, something has to denote dialogue.
Agreed.
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:44 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by pidgeon92 View Post
I believe Umberto Eco did the same in 1980's The Name of the Rose. I haven't read it myself, but my husband tells me it is so. I doubt Eco was the first to employ this practice.
As far as I can remember, both of my two copies contain a full complement of quotation marks.
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:47 AM   #27
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- I've read some books that used dashes instead of punctuation - she says - I never really understood why an author would do that. Perhaps they feel ordinary punctuation is beneath them? I personally find it distracting. -
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:49 AM   #28
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I just read The Fields by Kevin Maher. It took me about five pages to notice the absence of quotes. Although I think it would have been better to have the quotes, it wasn't as annoying as I thought it would be. The reason for omitting quotes baffles me. It's a hoighty toighty literary thing you say? That explains it.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Fields-Nov.../dp/0316223565
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:58 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by usuallee View Post
I just read Louise Erdrich's The Round House. Pretty good book. But no quotation marks were used to denote dialogue. As far as I can determine, Cormac McCarthy started doing this and now lots of literary authors are mimicking the trend.

To me, there is no stylistic reason to omit quotation marks, except to self-consciously announce an author's intention that This Is A Literary Work. I find it utterly pretentious. Your thoughts....
I've stayed away from Cormac McCarthy largely because of this, which is perhaps an unfair thing to do, since that means I can't really offer an informed opinion. Instead I have prejudged and agree that it seems utterly pretentious. I thought literary work was supposed to be about the quality of the writing, not tricks with syntax, but then I'm not a literary writer, so what do I know?

I can accept that it is possible to write a book this way and still have it comprehensible, but the writing must be deliberately constrained to fit with this style (you couldn't just go to any book and strip the quotes). Some people like to do things because they can, so fine, someone goes out and proves that it is possible to write a book without quotations marks. Great, point proven. We're all suitable impressed, let's all move on.
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Old 08-30-2013, 02:04 AM   #30
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Usually a dialog is clear and I am not bothered.

It seems to me that in the past I have read books or magazines where italics were used for dialog, but it doesn't come to me where that was.
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