Dot Dot Dot

Yes, I'm an ex-English teacher. I'll admit it. I'm a grammar geek, and a technical writing. Please don't hate me.  I even completed all the coursework (but not the dissertation) for a Ph.D in Rhetoric. Oh yes, I did.

But now that I'm trying to write fiction, I'm learning gobs from real writers. I don't have a clue about their educations.  They are writers, living the writing life, selling books that other people pay to read. I am the student here. Looking at my current manuscript recently, I saw many, many uses of ellipses (defined on Wikipedia as "Ellipsis is the narrative device of omitting a portion of the sequence of events, allowing the reader to fill in the narrative gaps.")  I wondered if I was creating a fiction faux pas,

The "dot dot dot' questions always takes me back to one of my favorite movies (again .. .sorry): Mama Mia

It's the diary she kept
the year she was pregnant with me.


'July 17th. What a night!'

I don't know if I want to hear this!
- I do!

'Sam rowed me over to the little island.'

That's here. That's Kalokairi.

'We danced on the beach,
and we kissed on the beach,

'and dot, dot, dot.'

So I posted on my Aspiring Writers group on Facebook:

OK, it's time for the "dot dot dot" question (. . . ) I use them a lot when charaters aren't really finishing their sentences, and hesitating, and to simulate what real dialog sounds like. Do I need to take them all out?
"Oh, I'm so sorry. I'm sorry I asked . . . " murmured Connie, but her eyes were bright with curiosity.

I found that I'm not the only "Aspiring Writer" struggling with this concept:

    • Writer One I use them, too. I do think there are times when they are useful.
      Wednesday at 5:03pm ·  ·  1 person

    • Writer Two Me too.
      Wednesday at 5:33pm ·  ·  1 person

    • Writer Three  People really talk like that. I think it makes it a bit better to read than 'She paused ' every time.
      Wednesday at 7:13pm ·  ·  2 people
    • Writer Four Ellipses are for when dialogue trails off ("I was going to tell you, but..." She shrugged.) Em dashes are for when dialogue is cut off abruptly ("I was going to tell you, but--" She walked smack dab into the wall). Whichever you use, it's like anything--too much can be distracting. :-)
      Wednesday at 7:36pm ·  ·  6 people
    • Writer Five ahhhhh i needed that though... :) i now know the difference
      14 hours ago · 
    • Mystic Wyngarden A former English teacher (Me) learns the basics of writing narrative from real writers. HA!


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