1

As is stated in the title, I have two questions.

1.) When writing a play that is not a verse-drama, is it appropriate to add line numbers?

2.) If the answer to 1.) is positive, do I just number the text as it is automatically formatted or should I arrange the text in lines (meaningful sentences or part of thereof)

To clarify 2.), imagine this hypothetical monologue by a caracter named Bob:

BOB. It is important to take care 
of the patient, to be followed by the
patient, but it will happen at such a 
time that there is a lot of work and
pain. For to come to the smallest 
detail, no one should practice any 
kind of work unless he derives some 
benefit from it.

Would A or B be an appropriate line numbering?

A

It is important to take care of 1
the patient, to be followed by 2
the patient, but it will happen 3
at such a time that there is 4
a lot of work and pain. For to 5     
come to the smallest detail, 6
no one should practice any kind 7
of work unless he derives some 8 
benefit from it. 9


B

BOB. It is important to 1
take care of the patient, 2
to be followed by the patient, 3
but it will happen 4
at such a time 5
that there is 6
a lot of work and pain. 7
For to come 8
to the smallest detail, 9
no one should practice 10
any kind of work 11
unless he derives 12
some benefit from it. 13

1 Answer 1

1

Harvey by Mary Chase is not a verse-drama. It consists of blocks of text not divided by syllables or any other rhythmic pattern. In fact, the lines are not even numbered. So don't feel compelled to add line numbers unless you want to.

Because your work is not a verse-drama, you don't need to split the lines like you did in option B. If you want to add line numbers, I'd personally go with option A.

On second read-through, option B is easier to digest than just a block of text. However, even in Shakespeare sometimes, when he has a segment that's not in verse, he'll leave it as a paragraph without splitting it up (example: Julius Caesar, Act III scene 2, Brutus's speech).

In summary, while Option B is more readable, Option A would be best because it conforms with the type of play you are writing. But if you really like Option B, it wouldn't be the end of the world to choose it.

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