Here at Indies Unlimited, we often get questions about the knottier issues of writing. Recently, Lynne Cantwell discussed the use of italics; today we’ll talk about quotes. In my editing work, I use the Chicago Manual of Style (CMoS), and that is my source for this information on using quotes.
The main thing to remember is that quotation marks (as all punctuation) are used as visual clues to your readers. It sends a signal to your readers about the context of what they are reading, and as such, they are necessary and invaluable to convey what you, the writer, want to convey. Imagine if you did not use quotation marks (or punctuation) in your writing. Continue reading “Quote Me on This: Quotation Marks 101”
Last week, Big Al treated us to his vast experience on what not to do with dialogue and dialogue tags. That got me all excited to talk about one of my favorite topics: how to write better dialogue. Here are just a few tips:
1. Get a stronger handle on how people talk to each other. This is your best tool in your dialogue toolbox. Dialogue isn’t an exact replica of human speech. We’d have to contend with a lot of verbal tics and repetition if it were. But spending some time listening will improve your ear. I like to do that by eavesdropping on conversations. Legally, of course. Listening will also help you learn to craft dialogue that will differentiate one character from another. Continue reading “How to Write Better Dialogue”
One night over gruel the minions were kicking around possible subjects we could write about and someone suggested a post on dialogue. (I don’t remember who as I was busy knocking gruel thief Rich Meyer’s spoon away from my bowl. How I still manage to gain weight around here, I have no idea.) Anyway, I said that I couldn’t do a post on how to write dialogue. The amount I’ve written is roughly equivalent to the number of words in the lyrics to Tequila. But I thought I was more than capable of writing a post on how not to write dialogue. Or at least one telling you about some of the problems I’ve seen made in the indie books I’ve read. Here are three to look out for in the dialogue you write. Continue reading ““Dialogue with Me,” He spouted”
“There was something I was going to write about for my Indies Unlimited post this week,” I said to my daughter Kat. “Do you remember what it was?”
“Hmm. Maybe it was punctuation in dialogue,” she said.
“You’re right!” I said. “You were saying that your teachers never went over it in school.”
“Yeah,” she said. “We concentrated on learning the rules for writing essays, because that’s what kids need to know to pass the state-mandated tests.”
I interjected, “Which the kids need to do so the teachers can keep their jobs.”
“Exactly. And there’s no dialogue in an essay.” Continue reading “Dialogue: Punctuation”