Kdot, I'm trying make my use of paragraphs more consistent. Below are two examples that I handled differently and I'm wondering which is more correct.

In the following, I describe actions performed by both Romano and Nnamani, then place their subsequent dialogue in separate paragraphs.

Romano and Nnamani summarized for the council the many supernatural events that had manifested around Connor, including his growing powers and the attacks against him.
Nnamani said, “I have no doubt God is working through Connor.”
“I agree,” Romano said.

Below, both men look at each other, then Nnamani speaks (Romano does not).

Romano and Nnamani looked at each other in alarm. “Explain that!” Nnamani said.

For consistency, I'm inclined to move Nnamani's dialogue into a separate paragraph.



After 45 years I finally looked up what a moisture farm is. It never occurred to me that it's exactly what the name suggests - farming for moisture. I know Frank Herbert complained about how much Star Wars ripped off Dune, but moisture farms are pretty blatant.

Thank you, all. As some of you have pointed out, it needs to be structured differently, which would require a rewrite. Also, as CJ pointed out in his review, the dialogue in question doesn't really add much. The quick fix is to rip it out. Nevertheless, it was surprising/interesting to write myself into a corner. Haven't done that in a while. :-)

Thanks again.

dagny wrote:

2068 here.

Impressive. Most impressive. Obi-Wan has taught you well.
(I am such a nerd.)

Thank you, Linda. Not to beat this to death, but the characters who are telling this shared tale (using double quotes) also relate dialogue that was spoken within the tale. That requires nesting quotes, which is what you see in my initial post in this thread. Maybe I'm just missing something...


You beat me by about 100 points. I also wish the site allowed us to share points.

I'm not sure how that would work. The characters in the story weave in and out of the tale, talking to each other, moving around, etc. Also, there is more than one narrator; other characters jump in and tell parts of the historic events.

Thank you, John. Yes, Elrond is an imperial turncoat. He's actually a Whill, a race of godlike beings who use their powers to maintain balance in the Force.

I took the short story down because it needed more work. It should be back up this weekend in two or three easily digestible parts.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle a lot of dialogue within dialogue? It comes up quite a bit when someone in a story is, in turn, telling a story involving dialogue. Below is a somewhat contrived example I carved out of some recent fan fiction. The paragraphs in bold are the storyteller (Elrond) speaking to his audience (which includes Luke). The rest is nested dialogue, including some minimal narration. The bold won't be in the fan fiction, but the blank lines would be. Note the switch from double to single quotes.

"An Imperial walker delivered Luke to me at the landing platform, his wrists in restraints. The officer in charge gave me Luke’s lightsaber. I dismissed him, leaving Luke and me alone for the first time in many years.

'Hello, Luke.'
'Hello, Elrond.'
'It’s good to see you again.'
Luke looked at me sadly. 'I never thought we’d end up on opposite sides of the war.'

"I wanted to take him into my confidence and reveal my plan, but it was too dangerous. Palpatine was an incredibly powerful Sith Lord. One slip by Luke and my plan would’ve fallen apart, leaving Palpatine aware he had been manipulated. He would not fall for the same ruse twice.

'Vader will be here shortly,' I told Luke.
'You don’t need to do this,' he said, using the Force in an attempt to influence my mind. 'Walk into the forest and disappear.'
'I can’t do that. I have a role to play, as do you.'

"We spent the next thirty minutes mostly in silence, waiting for Vader. When he arrived, he told me, 'Leave us. Find his companions.'"

In the fan fiction in question, Elrond weaves in and out of his story frequently (sips his drink, coughs, smiles, nods, etc.), and Luke also interrupts, so it's not something I can tell in one continuous flashback scene. Nested quotation marks don't work well for the total amount of dialogue in Elrond's story. Also tricky is the fact that sometimes Elrond only relates one line of dialogue within dialogue (see last sentence of the example above), which probably should use nested quotation marks.

Is there a better way to do this?



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For any Star Wars nerds, I've put up a short story called Star Wars 9.1, which I plan to post on fan fiction sites in the near future. Would appreciate any feedback you'd care to give.

In a scene that takes place after episode 9, a Whill named Elrond has a conversation with Rey about his secret involvement in the key events of the original trilogy (episodes 4 - 6). Whills are immortal beings conceptualized by George Lucas that went unused in the final trilogy.

As with my Dune short story, Star Wars 9.1 is basically me totally messing with Star Wars canon without appearing to mess with canon. Just for the hell of it. :-)


Episode 9 was a decent wrap-up for the saga given the fact that they didn't follow a story arc for the last three films. It's asinine that they would do that with a multibillion dollar franchise. The best part about 9 is that Emperor Palpatine was back (as a clone). That was an asspull. The worst part was when Lando takes off to round up enough ships to take on the Emperor's massive new fleet. He comes back in no time at all with hundreds of ships, easily ten times the size of the fleet that attacked at Endor. People in the audience burst out laughing it was so bad. At least they retconned all the s--t that went wrong in episode 8. Not to be outdone, my story retcons the original trilogy. :-)

Star Wars 9.1 is up under short stories. Similar concept to my Dune story. I totally mess with canon but also explain why no one in the galaxy knows about it.

It sometimes take me two to three weeks to reciprocate all incoming reviews. I'm too addle minded to track that much information for any length of time. I want to make sure everyone who is supposed to gets a recip.

Sol, would it be possible to add a couple of additional bits of information to the Active Connections tab? Specifically, the last date/time I reviewed someone's work, and the last date/time they reviewed mine. The more people I have as reviewers, the harder it is to keep track of to whom I owe reviews and on whom I've waiting for reviews. Currently, I flip back and forth between the four Reviews tabs, looking for who reviewed whom last. This would put the two pieces of information in one place.


I doubt Claire is a regular thriller reader, but I could be wrong. She's also not Catholic, but knows Catholicism from her younger days. She's definitely provided some good Catholic feedback.

As for the age range, it's probably not too different than non-Christians, roughly fourteen and up, provided I keep the violence under control. I have one advantage and disadvantage compared to Dan Brown. The advantage is that there is no fictional telling of the End Times from a Catholic perspective, except a book written over one hundred years ago. Many younger Catholics read the Left Behind series and think it's Catholic, which it definitely isn't. Interestingly, Pope Francis recommended the century-old book. It's called Lord of the World. The similarity to my series title is a coincidence, but it will help me on Amazon and other sites given the matching algorithms they use.

The "disadvantage" I have compared to Dan Brown is my book is much more religious than his, with more everyday Catholic elements, including a lot of praying. I had Connor pray silently for the dying cardinal, but I plan to go back and verbalize that, as that is more likely in a setting of so many religious characters in the room. They would want to join in. Those are probably a turnoff to secular readers, but I prefer it that way. One element to the story that will annoy serious Catholics is that I have a gay priest running an orphanage of boys, and the most senior cardinal in the Vatican allows it to continue. I have other elements that some Catholics won't like, such as God the Father accepting a new challenge from Satan that is winner-take-all. Also, the idea that Jesus will return as a boy. Those are not supported by Revelation, even though I found wiggle room in Acts 1 for the latter.

I didn't look for reviews before deciding on a largely Catholic story, but, now that you mention it, I'll look up reviews for Lord of the World. It's very different from my book, but avoids almost all violence and suffering. Basically, it skipped most of what's in Revelation. Fortunately, as I found in my research of Revelation study guides, Catholicism leaves it very open to interpretation, so I have a lot of room to maneuver.

EDIT: The reviews for Lord of the World were all over the place. Some loved it. Others thought it was awful.

Although I'm more than happy to have Rambo fans read the story, I'm definitely not worried about attracting them. If I was, I wouldn't be worried about the violence, and I would strip the prayers.

I deleted a bunch of posts that referred to your and your characters.

My target audience is Catholics, other Christians, and thriller readers, roughly in that order. I'm trying to minimize gratuitous violence, except for the crucifixions. Even there, I don't show the actual suffering, just the dead body. As for the stabbing, point taken. It may be too violent. I'll have to decide after I've written the first draft. It is an End Times novel, though, so suffering is unavoidable. One example is the two "locals" in the prologue, who are stung repeatedly by demonic locusts from Revelation. I'm happy I added the demons-with-bodies to the story to minimize human-to-human violence, but the shootouts were getting to be too much. Admittedly, I'm not sure if shooting a demon three times with holy water bullets is going to come across as less violent than the shootouts. Demons hit with holy water bullets will disintegrate to nothing, like the chief exorcist did. Demons dissolving into a mass of tissue and bodily fluids will only happen a couple of times until the cops have holy water bullets in chapter 12. Folks on my Catholic forum have told me, if violence is needed in the story, don't take two pages describing it in detail. Angels & Demons is a good inspiration for its Catholic/thriller elements, but the killer blows away cops at every turn, which I don't want. Human cops may be injured in my book but will not die since demons can't aim any better than stormtroopers.

I will eventually post the story on the other review site since it has active Catholic authors. That won't happen until I've written and edited the second draft. Hopefully the feedback won't require a full third draft. In the meantime, Clairedeplume has been providing me with Catholic feedback.

As for a platform, I'm many years away from publishing the first novel and don't want to spend time building an online presence until I'm closer to finishing the book. I may try for a Christian publisher, but there aren't many of them, so I'll probably self-publish.

I think that covers it.

I'm a little concerned that too much violence is creeping back into my story in chapters 14 and 15. I considered adding holy water squirt guns to the Nerf-style rifles mentioned in chapter 12, but that's too silly. A better approach is bullets loaded with holy water. The holy water releases as the bullet disintegrates. That also eliminates the need for the toy rifles. Just use holy water ammo. That way, instead of having prolonged shoutouts with demons, they only need to be shot a "few" times with holy bullets, and the holy water causes them to disintegrate as happened to the chief exorcist that Connor splashed with holy water in chapter 11. No muss, no fuss, no dry cleaning. Tension can be maintained by focusing on what the demons do after they're separated from their bodies (e.g., the spooks try to possess the living, who wear crosses and say prayers to protect themselves).

Naturally, there is still other violence in the story that can't go away, such as the crucifixions and
the stabbing of Connor with the demonic dagger. My goal is to dial down the violence. Also, after the first few demons dissolve in chapters four and six, I won't mention the 'mass of tissue and bodily fluids' anymore. I'll just say they dissolved.

Yup. Desktop version of Amazon also autocorrects your name. There's a small link at the top of the results page that takes you to the proper set of results (the ones I actually asked for), but it's easily missed, especially because their screens are so busy.

You're screwed.

Found a fix re the blind cardinal not being healed. He declines healing, saying that his blindness is a blessing from God that has given him a greater ability to commune with the Holy Spirit. Some shit like that. I'll call that a Hail Mary. :-)


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Thanks, Randy. Most Catholic literature I've read capitalizes Catholic terms that the CMOS would not. For example, Pope instead of pope. Also, the Council of Cardinal Advisors is a proper noun  I've since found examples online that say both  Council and council are acceptable. I went with lowercase.


(2 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

I need a short form for the Pope's Council of Cardinal Advisors in my book. However, I'm not sure if I should be using Council or council.

Thoughts? Also, why one vs. the other?


Well, this is stupid. Chapterhouse spent a whole book building up the threat of the Honored Matres and, in particular, the Great Honored Matre (aka Spider Queen) only to have her aide kill her with a simple poison in her drink. Did somebody forget about the existence of poison snoopers, a technology that had been around for thousands of years? Not even an exotic poison from the Scattering that advanced Ixian snoopers might not recognize.

I'm getting close to the end of Chapterhouse and read a few reviews of Sandworms of Dune on Goodreads. Reviewers really trashed that book. My favorite review began with What the hell was that? The reviews included enough details to remind me of the final two books. I think I own one of them on Kindle, but I seriously doubt I'll read either.


Also, I live in Wikipedia.