I am a profound lover of the use of ellipses in my writing, but most editors don’t seem to like them, or don’t know how to use them, and offer the recommendation to use them sparingly. As hard as I try, I manage to get three or four or more wrong every time I use them. This is according to the different editors I have sampled.
By thoroughly researching the use of ellipses, we might become a tad bit more competent to the point that we might be able to tell our editors, Nope you are wrong. Wishful thinking. I know.
Drawing from a number of resources I created the following guidelines. Please note that these guidelines are for writing fiction. (Guidelines for the use of ellipses in non-fiction or the academia world are clear, but I will certainly address if you want me to, and if you will leave a comment below.)
Ellipses, Or …Or Dot, Dot, Dot
Examples from books I have recently read: (Please note the variety of spacing used by the different authors. Each author uses a different way to space ellipses. No wonder there is confusion. More on spacing at the end.)
Use of the Ellipsis In Internal dialogue
Use of the Ellipsis In Dialogue
Use of the Ellipsis In Narration
Guidelines to the Safest Way to Use Ellipses
But No Guarantees
If you check out the spacing of ellipses used by the authors above, there are three different formats.
King uses: space, dot, space, dot, space, dot, space EXAMPLE word . . . word
Marshall uses: dot, dot, dot with no spaces EXAMPLE word…word
Howey and Thurgeon uses: space, dot, dot, dot, space EXAMPLE word … word
And I have even seen other variations: dot, dot, dot, space EXAMPLE word… word
Some even use word… . Word
Or word… ? Word
Or word… ! Word
What do we use?
King’s style is indicative of The Chicago Manual of Style: space, dot, space, dot, space, dot, space and supplying end punctuation when needed.
Marshall’s style is correct according to the most up to date information available: dot, dot, dot with no spaces and no end punctuation. This is done because of the wide use of computers and Microsoft Word/Office which offers a keyboard shortcut to the ellipsis.
Eons ago we were taught to double space after end punctuation marks before beginning a new sentence. Now, we are told to only use one space. This appears to be current status of the ellipsis. Less is more.
As for me, I will use the dot, dot, dot with no spaces. It’s evolution you see. And way the heck simpler.
To prove I love hearing from you, for those who share a comment, your name will be placed into a magic jar. If you comment and link back to my blog from your blog, your name will be placed in the magic jar twice. On November 20, 2014, my alien friend ( or ghost) (or Walk-In) (or whoever is present) will reach into the jar and pull forth a name. That person can claim one of the following:
1. A Wyso/Danny ring handcrafted by my Native American friend, Neal Paquin of Santa Fe, NM, especially designed for my first novella, Wyso and the Other Creepy Kids on Gerard Street. (Picture to be posted soon.)
2. A $20 gift certificate to Amazon via email.
3. My critique of the first twenty pages of your novel or novella.
BTW, if you have never read Theodore Sturgeon, give him a try. I think you will be inspired.
The Chicago Manual of Style
The Science Fiction Reality blog is a little science, a little fiction, a little about writing, a little real, and a lot of weird.