3

Like a son tuning out his mother's scolding. Or a character being distracted as their friend blabs on about something.

Would it be like:

"Isn't he dreamy? I mean, look at the size of those muscles–"

He didn't mean to ignore his friend. But, watching a wall of paint dry is better than listening to this. He tunes her out as he did watch the wall.

"–Remmy? Are you even listening? I've been talking for 5 minutes here."

Not a great example but is it right to use a dash? At the end and beginning of the dialogue? Are there other right ways?

1
  • > "a wall of paint gets dry.." Did you mean "a wall of paint dry"? The original formulation is jarring, "gets dry" is bad English, and even "get dry" sounds wrong. Paint dries. The cliché is "watching paint dry", and you shouldn't use it. Come up with something original that would be boring to watch. A snail race. A puddle evaporate.
    – Amadeus
    Apr 23 at 20:01

2 Answers 2

5

Breaking the dialogue with a dash or an elipsis (...) would both work. A dash feels like a more abrupt break of listening than the elipsis. You could even break with the elipsis and return with the dash to show a more sudden tuning back in.

If you wanted an even slower break of paying attention you could include outside the dialogue something where the character half-checks in and makes note of the topic or maybe some words the speaking character has said.

Expanding your example to show this last suggestion:

"Isn't he dreamy? I mean, look at the size of those muscles..."

He didn't mean to ignore his friend. But, watching a wall of paint dry is better than listening to this. What is she saying now? Something about the guy's favourite music or something? He tunes her out as he watches the wall.

"...Remmy? Are you even listening? I've been talking for 5 minutes here."

2

There are a few options.

  1. A monologue. One of the characters speaks all the time, only it's not a traditional soliloquy, but rather a series of statements, each of which can be met with a reply - only reply never comes. This reads like a play, no descriptions or thought processes need to be shown;

  2. Descriptive pauses. Instead of replies, you describe silent respondent's actions, without divulging his or her thoughts;

  3. Reflective pauses. Instead of replies, you give indication of what the silent responder is thinking at the moment (this is most similar to your shown example).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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