Posted: June 10, 2010 in Uncategorized


One of the interesting techniques used by Ernesto Mallo in his novel Needle in a Haystack was the use of italics for dialogue with no indication of who is speaking, or even when one person stops talking and another person starts.

I thought it added considerably to the tension and the sense of being involved in the story.

Aren’t you interested in knowing how he died? Of course I am….It’s just that I’m so overcome, everything has been so sudden……Of course. Tell me, you’re his only heir, is that correct? If there is anything to inherit then I suppose I am.


You wouldn’t happen to be a lefty, would you? A lefty? No, I try to abide by rights in everything I do. That sort of sarcasm is going to be your downfall one day. I want an answer by tomorrow. Tell Jorge and I’ll contact you. All right, anything else? You can go . Thanks, good day.

There are quite a few conversations in which this is done, and it is nice to find a writer trying something a bit different for once.

  1. >Norman – Thanks for highlighting the power of interesting dialogue written in an innovative way. That's really an intriguing way to write a story, and even with the snippet you provided, it's clear that the reader can understand what's going on. So no clarity seems to be lost. I like that.

  2. >Norman I'm still looking for a copy in Spanish which seems difficult to find. I'm still more interest in this book.

  3. Dorte H says:

    >Oh, whenever I do something like that, my betareaders think I made a mistake ;D

  4. >Thanks Margot. I agree it was quite easy to follow once you realised what was going on.Dorte, I am sure that just shows they have not kept up with your development as a writer. Jose Ignacio, that must be annoying for you when it was written in Spanish in the first place!

  5. Ernesto says:

    >I´ve just send tips to José as where he can find my novel in Spain. Regards, Ernesto Mallo

  6. >Thanks Ernesto, Jose has posted about your help with a translation.

  7. Ernesto says:

    >My pleasure, Uriah. And thank you for your review. I love it. Ernesto

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