Season of Giving
is upon us!
Sadly, while I wish I could wrap up a little something for each of you, my time and finances are somewhat limited, so I have decided to put together something a little different. As is suitable from someone like me, I present …
Between December 1-23 I’ll post twelve editing suggestions I hope you can use in the coming year when you’re working on your manuscript. You’ll just have to imagine there’s a bow tied around each one. Most of them I’ve covered in earlier blogs, but it’s always nice to get a kick in the butt reminder once in a while.
Punctuation In Dialogue.
I have to cover this one first, because it’s my pet peeve. One of them, anyway.
“I love writing dialogue,” I said. “It helps me see inside my characters’ thoughts.”
He frowned. “Really? I don’t. It’s too confusing, with all those periods and commas and stuff.”
“Ah,” I reply, smiling vaguely. “I think I understand your problem. Maybe I can help.”
When your characters make a statement, it is an actual sentence, right? That means it deserves proper punctuation, like any other sentence.
“I like to write dialogue.”
< Pretty basic. Statement ends with a period. But who said it?
“I like to write dialogue,” I said.
<Notice the comma. Since you are continuing the sentence by explaining who is speaking, there is no period until after I said. The comma comes BEFORE the quotation marks.
“I like to write dialogue,” I said. “It helps me understand my characters.”
<Two separate sentences. A comma before the first set of quotation marks, a period after I said, then a period before the last set of quotation marks.
“I like to write dialogue,” I said, holding up one finger to grab his attention, “but I can't stand seeing it written incorrectly.”
<Notice: this changes because the sentence is split in the middle. It’s still, however, one sentence. You need a comma before the first set of quotation marks closes, a comma after I said, a comma before the last set of quotation marks opens, and a period before the final set of quotation marks closes.