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8 Steps to Perfect Dialogue Format
Formatting dialogue in any manuscript can be perplexing. Follow these 8 guidelines so you don’t get tripped up by tricky dialogue.
- Check that all spoken dialogue is enclosed in quotation marks and that punctuation occurs inside the quotation marks. [Enclosing all punctuation within the quotes is standard style of most American publishers.]
- Only spoken words go in quotes, thoughts do not need to be set off with quotation marks. Some writers use italics to set off thoughts.
- The best verb for tagging your dialogue is “said.” Use other verbs when they truly add to the moment. And do not use verbs as speech tags unless they actually describe speech: sneered, snorted, or giggled, and the like are not speech tags because they are not specific ways we vocalize words.
For all eight tips, listen to the full episode.