Section 14
Plays, Cartoons, and Graphic Novels

14.1     Fundamentals
14.2     Cast of Characters
14.3     Scene Settings
14.4     Stage Directions
14.5     Prose Plays
14.6     Verse Plays
14.7     Mixed Prose and Verse Plays
14.8     Conclusion of Play
14.9     Interviews
14.10   Cartoons
14.11   Graphic Novels
14.12   Samples

14.1       Fundamentals

14.1.1     This section deals with plays and other print situations which involve dialogue. Cartoons, interviews, and graphic novels also use a dialogue, or a question and answer, format that works well with the patterns established in this section.

14.1.2     All speaker and character names, or abbreviated names, are initially-capitalized. The names may appear as the speaker, in stage settings, stage directions, etc.

14.1.3     Retain font attributes when emphasis is required grammatically, i.e., book titles, ship titles, etc.

14.1.4     Dialogue starts on the same braille line as the character's name or identity when space permits.

14.1.5     When there is an extended blank space between the speaker's name and the first word of the speech, this space is indicated by three blank cells in braille.

14.1.6     Special Symbols and Transcriber's Notes

Special Symbols

Transcriber's Notes

See Section 15, Line-Numbered and Line-Lettered Text for plays with line numbers.

See Section 16, Notes.

14.1.7     A Braille Reader's Perspective

It is important to provide the reader with pertinent graphic information when transcribing cartoons and graphic novels.

14.2       Cast of Characters

14.2.1     The following format is used for the cast of characters:

a.  Use a cell-5 heading when a heading is included.

b.  The cast of characters is listed in 1-3, with each name followed on the same line by the character identification.

c.  Ignore font attributes shown in a cast of characters, unless needed for distinction.

d.  Use the single capital indicator with all character names.

e.  Follow print punctuation used to separate names from any following identifications.

Example 14-1: Simple Cast of Characters

 List of five character names, with four of the names followed by a comma and the character's identification

,bapti/a ,m9ola1 ,"f ( ,ka!r9a & ,bianca
,v9c5tia1 ,"f ( ,luc5tio
,ka!r9a 7,kate7 ,m9ola1 ,! 8%rew0 (!
,bianca1 ,si/] ( ,ka!r9a

14.2.2     Follow print for punctuation shown after the name of each speaker. Insert a colon if punctuation is not shown in print.

Example 14-2: Cast of Characters with Colon Inserted

Bold character names are in a column and not followed by punctuation; the character's identification is in a second column

,luc5tio3 ,suitor ( ,bianca
,gremio3 ,suitor ( ,bianca
,hort5sio3 ,suitor ( ,bianca

14.2.3     Single Identification for Several Characters

a.  Include the identification with the first character.

b.  Follow print punctuation used with other character names. Insert a colon when no punctuation is used.

c.  Use a ditto symbol "1 (5, 2) for the remaining character identifications in the group.

d.  The ditto symbol is included on the Special Symbols page, or in a transcriber's note before the text.

See Sample 14-1: Cast of Characters with Ditto Symbol on page 14-11.

14.2.4     When a play is longer than a single volume:

a.  The cast of characters is repeated in each volume of the continued play.

b.  The repeated cast of characters is included in print page number order in the front matter pages.

c.  The print page number is included on this front matter page.

d.  The transposed page with the repeated cast of characters is included on the title page. For example:

Title page: Print pages 5, 60, 80-95

14.3       Scene Settings

14.3.1     Scene settings may be described by a single word or several paragraphs, identifying the locale or period in which the action takes place.

a.  Titles and scene numbers are centered headings.

b.  Print is followed for blocked or indented paragraphs.

c.  Print is followed for use of enclosure symbols, e.g., brackets or parentheses. Do not add enclosure symbols if none are used in print.

d.  Font attributes are omitted unless needed for distinction.

e.  A blank line is inserted to separate scene settings from dialogue.

See Sample 14-2: Scene Setting on page 14-12.

14.4       Stage Directions

14.4.1     A stage direction is an instruction to the actor that is written into the script of the play.

a.  Follow print for  enclosure symbols used for internal stage directions. Do not add enclosure symbols if none are used in print.

b.  Follow print placement and punctuation when stage directions or cues follow  the speaker's name.

Example 14-3: Stage Directions After a Speaker's Name

Character's name (first letter capitalized) is followed by a period; stage directions are in brackets after the period and before the dialogue

,anne4 ,7lau<+7' ,isn't t a b1uti;l

c.  Ignore font attributes  used for internal stage directions, unless needed for distinction, i.e., when stage directions after a speaker's name are not enclosed in punctuation.

Example 14-4: Italics Retained for Unenclosed Stage Directions

Uppercase character names are uppercase are followed by italicized stage directions which are not enclosed in punctuation; stage directions are followed by a colon

,mama .hy/]ic,y3 ,b ,i c't d any?+ ab t6
,jessie .quietly3 ,no4 ,y c't4

Example 14-5: Stage Directions within Dialogue

Italicized stage directions, enclosed in parentheses, appear after the character's name and within dialogue

,john 796ph"o73 ,i c't talk n[4 7,pause7
⠀⠀,:at8 7,pause7 ,hmm4 7,pause7 ,all "r1
⠀⠀,i ''' ,i4 ,c't4 ,talk4 ,n[4 ,no1 no1
⠀⠀no4 ,i .,"k ,i did1 b '''4 ,:at8
⠀⠀,hello4 ,:at8 ,%e .:at8 ,%e .c't1 %e
⠀⠀sd ! agree;t is void8 '''

14.5       Prose Plays

14.5.1     Speakers and Dialogue

a.  Each speaker's name and accompanying dialogue are in

b.  All speaker names are initially-capitalized and font attributes are ignored.

c.  Follow print for punctuation shown after the name of each speaker. Insert a colon if punctuation is not shown in print.

See Sample 14-3: Dialogue on page 14-13.

d.  Additional paragraphs by the same speaker in the same dialogue are in 5-3.

See Sample 14-4: Speaker with Multiple Paragraphs of Dialogue on page 14-14.

14.5.2     Simultaneous Speakers

a.  Ignore enclosure symbols when they are used to indicate that two or more characters are speaking at the same time with different dialogue. The set of speeches is preceded by a transcriber's note. Sample:

Together: Craig, Peter

b.  Indicate the resumption of normal dialogue by the following transcriber's note. Do not insert a blank line before or after the transcriber's note. Sample:


See Sample 14-5: Simultaneous Speakers on page 14-15.

c.  Do not attempt to duplicate print when dialogue of simultaneous speakers is printed in columns. Use the dialogue format as directed above.

See Sample 14-6: Columned Dialogue Ignored on page 14-16.

14.5.3     Stage Directions Between Lines of Prose Dialogue

a.  Stage directions or cues are in 5-5.

b.  Additional paragraphs of stage directions are in 7-5.

c.  Ignore font attributes used for stage directions.

d.  Do not insert blank lines before or after stage directions or cues printed outside or between the lines of dialogue.

Example 14-6: Unenclosed Stage Directions

Unenclosed and italicized stage directions in a separate paragraph from the dialogue

,jessie3 ,x's n a joke1 ,mama4
⠀⠀⠀⠀,mama wat*es =a mo;t 9 sil;e4
,mama3 ,t gun's no gd1 y "k4 ,he broke x
⠀⠀"r 2f he di$4 ,he dropp$ x 9 ! mud "o


See Sample 14-7: Two Paragraphs of Prose Stage Directions on page 14-17.

14.6       Verse Plays

14.6.1     Verse plays are in a poetic form, and typically each poetic line begins with a capital letter.

a.  The first poetic line of dialogue is in 1-5.

b.  Additional lines by the same speaker are in 3-5.

See Sample 14-8: Verse Play on page 14-18.

14.6.2     Print may include a large space after a speaker's name.

a.  Insert three blank cells between the speaker's name and the beginning of the dialogue.

b.  Explain this usage on the Transcriber's Notes page, or in a transcriber's note before the beginning of the play. Sample:

Three blank spaces are inserted after a speaker's name when print shows a wide space.

Example 14-7: Verse Play with Extended Blank Space

Verse play with character's name is followed by an extended blank space, with the dialogue beginning so it lines up with the end of previous character's dialogue

,antonio3 ,i'll t1* y h[ 6fl[4
,seba/ian3⠀⠀⠀,d s4 ,6ebb
⠀⠀,h]$it>y slo? 9/ructs me4
⠀⠀,if y b knew h[ y ! purpose *]i%

14.6.3     Stage Directions Between Lines of Verse Dialogue

a.  Stage directions or cues are in 7-7.

b.  Additional paragraphs of stage directions are in 9-7.

Example 14-8: Two Paragraphs of Verse Stage Directions

Two consecutive paragraphs of unenclosed and italicized stage directions in a verse play

,brutus3 ,f>ewell1 e "o4
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀,exeunt all b ,brutus
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀,re-5t] ,lucius1 )! g[n
⠀⠀,give me ! g[n4 ,": is ?y 9/ru;t8

14.7       Mixed Prose and Verse Plays

14.7.1     Dialogue. Use the appropriate format for the type of dialogue, i.e., 1-3 for the prose sections, and 1-5, 3-5 for the verse sections.

14.7.2     Stage Directions. When the dialogue consists of both prose and verse, stage directions or cues are in 5-5 following prose and in 7-7 following verse. Follow print for use of enclosure symbols.

See Sample 14-9: Mixed Prose and Verse Stage Directions on page 14-19.

14.8       Conclusion of Play

14.8.1     A phrase indicating the conclusion of the play, e.g., The End, or The Curtain Falls, etc., is centered and preceded and followed by a blank line.

14.8.2     Do not add The End or other indication of the plays end when none appears in print.

See Sample 14-10: Conclusion of Play on page 14-20.

14.9       Interviews

14.9.1     Use the 1-3 prose play format for interviews. See §14.4.

Example 14-9: Interview

Two lines of an interview, with italicized names not followed by punctuation

,report]3 ,mr4 ,presid5t1 h[ 0 yr vac,n
⠀⠀at ,camp ,david8
,presid5t3 ,x 0 f9e4

14.10     Cartoons

14.10.1   Insert a blank line before and after a cartoon. Do not leave blank lines between the frames or panels of a single cartoon or between individual cartoons when a series of them is shown.

14.10.2   Insert Cartoon, enclosed in transcriber's notes symbols, in 7-5. Continuing on the same line, insert the cartoon title and artist's name, followed by the date and copyright information, if given and legible. Copyright information is often found in the acknowledgements if part of this information attached to the cartoon is difficult to read.

14.10.3   Cartoons are formatted as a play.

a.  It is often useful to insert a brief scene setting describing the cartoon and the characters before beginning the cartoon. Include this in a transcriber's note, starting on the line after the cartoon and title information.

b.  Dialogue is in 1-3.

14.10.4   Single-Frame Cartoon. Dialogue is frequently not included in a single-frame cartoon. Include sufficient information in a scene setting to convey the intent of the cartoon.

a.  The scene setting is described in a transcriber's note, in 7-5.

b.  The caption to the cartoon is in 7-5.

Example 14-10: Elements of Single-Frame Cartoon

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀,',c>toon,' title1 >ti/'s "n1 date
⠀⠀⠀⠀& copy"r 9=m,n
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀,',sc5e sett+ describ+ ! c>toon,'
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀,',cap;n,' text

14.10.5   Multi-Frame Cartoon. A cartoon may have a series of frames. Each frame number is treated like stage directions, in 5-5.

a.  Dialogue is in 1-3, beginning with the character's name followed by a colon.

b.  When the dialogue is continued in another frame, repeat the character's name.

c.  When a character is not identified, an identifying trait is used as the character name, e.g., Boy 1, Boy 2, Man with Hat, etc.

d.  Dialogue from an unknown character is given an identifier, such as Narrator or Unseen Character.

e.  If necessary, a brief description of the action in the frame is enclosed in transcriber's note symbols following the character's name and colon. This description is not limited to seven words.

f.  Look at the entire cartoon, graphic novel, etc., before writing the description.

See Sample 14-11: Cartoon starting on page 14-22.

14.11     Graphic Novels

14.11.1   Graphic novels use comic book style art and dialogue. They are treated as a play, with each print page beginning with Frame 1.

See Sample 14-12: Graphic Novel starting on page 14-24.

14.12     Samples

Sample 14-1: Cast of Characters with Ditto Symbol, page 4-11

Sample 14-2: Scene Setting, page 14-12

Sample 14-3: Dialogue, page 14-13

Sample 14-4: Speaker with Multiple Paragraphs of Dialogue, page 14-14

Sample 14-5: Simultaneous Speakers, page 14-15

Sample 14-6: Columned Dialogue Ignored, page 14-16

Sample 14-7: Two Paragraphs of Prose Stage Directions, page 14-17

Sample 14-8: Verse Play, page 14-18

Sample 14-9: Mixed Prose and Verse Stage Directions, page 14-19

Sample 14-10: Conclusion of Play, page 14-20

Sample 14-11: Cartoon, page 14-22

Sample 14-12: Graphic Novel, page 14-24