Looking at what makes other writer blogs so successful and popular, I’ve noticed they have one thing in common – they all post articles on how to be a better writer. Well, I’ve decided to try it out with my article on dialogue.
Dialogue. Every book has it, and it would be hard (if not impossible) to write a good novel with out it. So it’s important it’s good and believable, because believable dialogue equals believable characters. So, here’s five rules for punctuating dialogue. But, before I start, some terminology.
- Tag Line: The words used to identify who spoke the words. Eg “he said”, “she shouted”
- Quotation: The piece of speech (dialogue).
- Double Quote: “ ” Used for spoken dialogue.
- Single Quote: ‘ ’
5 Rules for Punctuating Dialogue:
- Use a comma between the dialogue and the tag line.
eg. “I hope you enjoy this article,”Little Scribbler said.
- Use double quotes for quotations, and only use single quotes when referring to a quotation inside a quotation.
eg. “This is a good article”.
eg. “Did you enjoy reading the novel ‘Poseidon’s Trident’ by Little Scribbler?”
- If the quotation is longer than one paragraph, do not use the ending quote until the end of the quotation, but use a beginning quotation at the beginning of the next paragraph.
eg. “I did not destroy your novel. It was not me, but that funny looking man over there.
“He also destroyed my novel, and Mrs Storee’s as well”. Okay, not the best dialogue, but you get the point.
- Comma’s and periods go inside the quotes, but other punctuation marks (?, !, -) go outside, unless they are directly relevant to the quotation.
eg. “ I Love your book! Do you love my book?” – Exclamation and question marks are relevant to the quotation.
eg. “Did he say ‘I love your book’?” – Question mark is not relevant to the single quoted quotation.
- When a tag line interrupts the quotation, it should be offset by commas. The first letter of the second half of the dialogue should not be a capital.
eg. “I love your novel,” he said, “It was really good.”
Wow. That wasn’t to bad. I should write some more articles some time. It turned out quite big too. I was going to have some more on dialogue (tips), but I’ll save that for the next article. Don’t forget to leave comments. I live on comments.