I am wondering how you should format dialogues when writing a fiction novel with poetic verses. I believe that the descriptive parts should be written in verses, but what about dialogues? How would you go about writing dialogues when using poetic verses for the dialogues, and how would you go about it if you decide to not use poetic verses for the dialogues?

1 Answer 1


Novels in verse, like Yevgeniy Onegin subject everything else to the structure of the verse. This means that instead of following the usual format of starting a new line for each character's line of dialogue, a new line or a new paragraph would be started according to the demands of the prosody. It might be that those go together with dialogue lines, or it might be that they don't. For example, in Yvgeniy Onegin mentioned above, several exchanges between Onegin and his friend Lenski involve multiple one-word statements. Those are fitted into two lines of verse, without respecting who speaks. Sort of like this:

"Can you introduce me?" - "You serious?" - "Absolutely." - "I would be glad." - "When can we go?" - "Let's go today". (My translation, from memory.)

So, to sum up, prosody trumps regular formatting rules, even when dialogue is concerned.

If you wish to mix verse and prose, verse is formatted like verse, and prose - like prose.

  • 1
    Original Russian formatting clearly indicates who is talking. Onegin's words are shown as «...», while Lenski's as —... —.
    – user58697
    Feb 11, 2019 at 20:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.