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I am writing a story but I am trying to indent the dialog because right now it looks like a chunk of text.

My text is

Then a figure under the box moved behind Professor to which John yelled “Professor! Watch out!” But due to his old age, he didn't hear him...

Would I indent it like

Then a figure under the box moved behind Professor to which John yelled
“Professor! Watch out!”
But due to his old age, he didn't hear him...

I tried researching but don't exactly get how to implement it into my story, also how else can I indent my story to make it look less like a big blob of text without having to introduce a new paragraph

  • Hi Dan, what software are you using? In most word processors, simply pressing "enter/return" will create a new line and push the text after it downwards. Have you tried that? – White Eagle Apr 2 '18 at 23:08
  • You seem to want to have a paragraph without extra spacing. Easily doable in MS Word (Paragraph/Spacing/After), should be doable in all other text processors. – Alexander Apr 2 '18 at 23:15
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    I did the indenting for you. But don't. Non-standard formatting just calls attention to your non-standard formatting. It does not make you story any more inviting or any easier to read. Concentrate on telling a good story and use the same formatting as everyone else. – user16226 Apr 2 '18 at 23:27
  • @MarkBaker So I should keep it as a blob of text? – Dan Apr 2 '18 at 23:40
  • @Dan I would. Breaking it up does not seem to add to readability, which is really the only standard that matters. – user16226 Apr 2 '18 at 23:43
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If your paragraph is a gray wall of text, break it up where it makes sense. You aren't required to break it only on dialogue. And trim your narration too:

A figure under the box moved behind Professor. John yelled “Professor! Watch out!” Professor didn't hear him.

John had no choice. He leapt forward and tackled the shadow looming behind his mentor. They crashed to the ground in a tangle of flailing limbs. He couldn't get his bearings enough for a proper attack, and punched and kicked at the mystery figure in desperation.

From the other side of the room, a woman shouted "STOP!" Professor cried out something in response, but John couldn't make it out.

Each paragraph is a small beat, or a moment or thought. You can have longer beats and shorter beats. Vary them to help your readability.

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  • Thanks! I really like the idea of making each one a moment! – Dan Apr 3 '18 at 22:18
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Dialogue is just a normal paragraph and is indented as all other paragraphs are.

If you indent the first line of each paragraph in your text, indent dialogue too:

   John does and says a lot of things so that we have a paragraph with multiple lines. I'll just keep writing, until there are at least three lines. I hope you will forgive me for the nonsense I write here.
   "What kind of nonsense are you writing here, Cloudchaser?" John asked me.
   "I'm just filling the lines," I replied.

If you do not indent the first line in every paragraph, do not indent dialogue either:

John does and says a lot of things so that we have a paragraph with multiple lines. I'll just keep writing, until there are at least three lines. I hope you will forgive me for the nonsense I write here.
"What kind of nonsense are you writing here, Cloudchaser?" John asked me.
"I'm just filling the lines," I replied.


In your example, the spoken words are part of another sentence and therefore do not form their own paragraph. You just forgot a colon:

Then a figure under the box moved behind Professor to which John yelled: “Professor! Watch out!” But due to his old age, he didn't hear him...

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