“Inside.” — “Not out”.

I recently mentioned in a post on how to use Quotation styles. Basically, pick one and stick with it. “Double” or ‘Single’. Recently I’ve been looking at some basic rules, the roots of writing. (Yes, there are those out there that will disagree. That’s your right to.) These rules are not fly-by-night however. They are tried and true. They are found in most properly edited works.

The one rule break I’m most irked by is not keeping punctuation in it’s proper place regarding dialogue. To me this is important. Once I’ve decided which quotation style to use. (Always double for me) then it’s important to keep the dialogue punctuation with in the quotations.

For example:

Incorrect: “Hey Amber”, Dale smiled. “How’s it going”?
Correct: “Hey Amber,” Dale smiled. “How’s it going?

“This is the worst day ever”! Scott shouted.
“It could be worse”. Dale rolled his eyes. 
“Losing your car keys and spilling your coffee is minor”. Dale chuckled. “Amber puked on me, slipped in it and cried for an hour this morning”.

“This is the worst day ever!” Scott shouted.
“It could be worse.” Dale rolled his eyes.
“Losing your car keys and spilling your coffee is minor.” Dale chuckled and slapped his knee. “Amber puked on me, slipped in it and cried for an hour this morning.

I don’t enjoy reading dialogue punctuation outside the quotations.  Sure, this happens to me by mistake when I get in a groove and grammar and punctuation take a side line as I hammer away at my keyboard. However, it’s corrected the moment I start editing and revising. (Ideally).

*Amendment to this post. Other countries such as Great Britain use outside punctuation for dialogue. It’s not what I’m familiar with since I’m in North America. Books published from British authors are sometimes converted to the North American standard when published internationally. This blog and all that I write about are based off North American standards.

My advice about Dialogue punctuation.
“Keep it inside the quotation marks.” (Unless your from Great Britain or other countries that keep it on the outside) 


Other dialogue related posts

That’s So Simile

Redundantly Redundant Redundancies

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

Stylish Quotation “.” “.” ‘.’ ‘.’

Writing dialog. I talk about it alllll the time. Why? Because for me it’s important. I love good dialogue. What I don’t love is dialogue that has poor punctuation. There is nothing worse than having your eyes zip along the sentences to trip up on something out of the norm.  Now like all things the following is what I’ve learned about dialogue punctuation. I have read some stories that simply do not follow any of the basic rules or structure and or don’t do it consistently. Any and every book published by a real publishing house has dialogue in it that is easy to read, follow and understand. Why? Because they all follow the same rules. While stepping outside the norm and being creative is amazing, sometimes being too far from the beaten path can detract from the quality and genius of your work.

There is a time for rebellion, IMO, dialogue punctuation is not one of them. It’s honestly painful to read a block of dialog and struggle to decipher it. I shouldn’t have to.

The most simple rule is QUOTATION style. In my blog it seems to always or often use/convert to the straight up and down style quotation marks (That I don’t like). In my actual novels, I choose times new roman or Garamond so that the quotation marks are properly curled into the sentence.

Like this: “Hi.” or ‘Hi.’ or It’s
Not this:  “Hi.” or ‘Hi.’ or It‘s 

More important than direction of the curl, is to be consistent with the style of quotation marks.  Whether you use the “Double” or the ‘Single’ style of quotations is mute. So long as you stay consistent and always mark dialogue with one or the other.  The style used does seem to be geographical. Some countries teach one over the other. There are of course circumstances when I would mix them. I personally use the “Double” quotation style, which means I always, always, always begin and end dialogue with the same “Double” quotation. This is what a simple dialogue would look like.

“Honestly Dale, it was insane.” Amber said.
“Oh she was all like, Oh my god, and totally. She had to be fifty at least. Then she took my order and said, like thanks man. I couldn’t help it and laughed, but waited until I got out of the shop.”

While that reads okay, I like to separate ‘mocking’ or quoting dialogue within dialogue. Most often I’ll do this with ‘single’ quotations (use doubles if you prefer marking dialogue with singles) Just be consistent. I also accent mocking or quoting by using italics. This is totally a personal choice. Yes, well-published authors use this too. That is where I learned it.

So done this way it would look like this:

“Honestly Dale, it was insane.” Amber said.
“Oh she was all like, ‘Oh my god, and totally.’ She had to be fifty at least. Then she took my order and said, ‘like thanks man.’ I couldn’t help it and laughed, but waited until I got out of the shop.”

It’s most important to be consistent. You can just as easily choose only italics to accent mocking or quoting other dialogue.

Some might say this is superficial, but if you pull out any professionally published book and take a look you’ll see that dialogue quotation consistency is never broken. Being ‘creative’ or ‘fancy’ is unnecessary. Don’t try to separate speakers by mixing quotation styles. If you structure it correctly you shouldn’t need to.

My advice about Quotation style.
A classic little black dress never goes out of style. The same goes for quotation style consistency. If you want to be taken seriously, leave the creative-ego at the door and quote dialogue properly. Show your creativity in the story telling instead.


Other dialogue related posts

Creative Dialogue Tags

Talking Trivial

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved