Novel Girls: Parallels and Contractions

29 Jan

I love when we have a Novel Girls night and all four of us can make it. It’s kind of the best thing ever. If you haven’t yet, please go check out Nicole and Sonia‘s blogs. They are both amazing. When Katherine gets a blog, I’ll link there right away.

We read Katherine’s piece first and she had dropped subtle hints to a popular piece of popular literature. I love how Katherine generally ties in fairy tales and magic to her stories and this was no exception as the piece she’d alluded to contains both. The question this sparks in me is if parallelism and references to a popular piece of literature helps or hurts the story. (Note- I’m not sure Katherine is doing this, it just made me think of it.) I remember a book I liked when I was young called Scribbler of Dreams. The plot summary compares the book to Romeo and Juliet. But that didn’t mean I enjoyed it any less or more. In some sense, I knew what was going to happen because of the parallel, but I was still surprised at every turn. Do you enjoy a piece less if it’s a spin-off, parallel, some other relation to a piece of well-known literature? Does knowing something is a spin-off of another work make you want to read it more? I’m personally a fan of spin-offs, such as Wicked.

This is more of a general question to you, Reader. We were wondering if someone had ever written something from a first person perspective, reflecting on them self and another as ‘they.’ Almost like an our-of-body experience watching yourself. Has anyone ever heard of this?

Katherine had a great way to relate when a paragraph break comes in when doing dialogue. We all know to switch paragraphs when we have two people talking (if you didn’t, you’re welcome) but knowing where the ‘he shrugged’ and ‘her eyes opened wide’ pieces of writing belong is something I’ve never had a clear rule about. Katherine’s mantra is ‘When the camera shifts.’ When the description applies to the first person to talk, keep it in the first paragraph. As soon as the description moves to the second person, switch paragraphs. I love this rule!

Our final point of discussion is something I’ve never known when to use. When should you use contractions in dialogue and when should you not? I’ve had it as a general rule that the non-dialogue parts of a story should be contraction free, but then what about when people are talking? I tend to say things out-loud to myself to see if they sound weird as contractions or to see how I would say a given sentence. Does anyone have a rule for when to use contractions in dialogue? Does it have to do with the education level of the speaker? Does age and time period play a factor? Please leave me with your thoughts!

I love hearing from you so please leave a comment! Until next time, write on.

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