Dialogue Writing Tips
The most common way to indicate a new speaker’s dialogue is to start a new paragraph.
Here is an example from my novel Touched:
Rashan slouched into a nearby folding chair, not bothering to get one for Georgia. He moved a few braids from his forehead, but they fell back over his eyes. After a silence, Georgia, still standing, took the conversational lead. “So you’re a basketball player?”
“Varsity. Point guard.”
“Do you know what a point guard is?”
“Not exactly but it sounds important.”
Rashan laughed. “It is. Hey, you wanna dance?”
Different speakers’ words may be written in a single paragraph to save space as long as the change of speakers is clear by prompts to the reader such as Rashan laughed.
Single words such as yes, no, where, how, and why are not enclosed in quotation marks unless used in direct dialogue.
She said yes when he asked her to marry him.
When Howard asked Mary to marry him, she shouted, “Yes!”
With thoughts and imagined dialogue that are unspoken, you may enclose the interior discourse in quotation marks or not.
“If he asks for chocolate ice cream one more time,” Benny’s mother thought, “I’ll scream.”
If he asks for chocolate ice cream one more time, Benny’s mother thought, I’ll scream.
“Why,” she wondered, “did I worry about the test so much?”
Why, she wondered, did I worry about the test so much?
Posted on Monday, August 27, 2007, at 11:00 pm