marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

punctuated dialog

Sometimes the run-of-the-mill punctuation marks do not do enough to structure dialog.  Not even if you use copious dashes or put a period.  After.  Every.  Single.  Word.

Attributives -- he said, she said -- do more than keep the characters straight.  They break up the speech.  Putting them in can sometimes be a trick, when you don't want to break up the speech.  I've had to resort to starting the paragraph with "He said," a few times.  But it can break up a speech when a mere period does not seem to give enough space.

Actions can do it even better.  Or incidents involving people or things other than those speaking.  A gesture, a shrug, a bird warbling in the nearest tree can be useful to remind the readers that this is not some disembodied voices chattering in a vacuum.  But it can also help break up speech more elegantly than punctuation marks or even paragraphs -- because more naturally.  The nature of speech is to be broken up without consideration for paragraphs and topic c sentences and the like.
Tags: dialog, style
Subscribe

  • once upon a christening

    A fairy who had not been invited showed up to the christening. So she shows up and curses the princess to sleep for a century. Politics are behind…

  • weather and the wizards

    There are going to be some characters who are ungrateful for the green and pleasant land they live in. They claim that the wizards are not needed.…

  • magic in the land

    How much magic lies about in the land? There are no magical creatures like dragons or gryphons, and no people except humans. But there is a spell,…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 2 comments