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Picturing a World

Half-finished sentences

Edgar Degas once said, "Conversation in real life is full of half-finished sentences and overlapping talk. Why shouldn't painting be too?" Look at the partially lifted curtain in the background and the men hanging around on stage in middle and foreground. Don't they seem to illustrate what he was saying?

Among movie directors, Robert Altman comes to mind as an effective proponent of the technique. I first became aware of how he used it in McCabe and Mrs. Miller.

In writing, half-finished sentences are easy. Overlapping talk is harder because the medium is essentially linear. I tend to place several short speeches together on one line with quotation marks to indicate that there are different speakers. Any suggestions for a different technique?
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