Let’s Do Dialogue Convention…

Standard

Quotation marks
Image via Wikipedia

If you’re anything like me, I had no idea what dialogue convention was.  To put it simply, it is what we as readers are used to with dialogue, looking and performing a certain way. It is “rules of dialogue.”

1.  quotation marks signal to the reader some one is speaking.  “Martha, I read the best book last night.  It was wonderful.”  Sometimes you will see writers use different punctuation from single quotation marks to brackets.  Unless you have a very good reason for not following convention, it is recommended you do not vary.

2. Dialogue dictates one paragraph per speaker, no matter how short the speech.  It makes it easier to follow the flow of the conversation.

3.  Speech tags are used so the reader can know who is doing the talking.  Most of the time we see, he/she said.  Speech tags help the reader to gather his bearings, the way commas indicate a pause.  Most of the time readers do not even notice you have use  he/she said, unless you’ve used the word a thousand times.  Readers have said the words become invisible.  You just don’t pay any attention to them.  You do not have to use speech tags with every line if the reader is aware of exactly who is doing the talking.

If you had made it clear, Jack and Jill were the only people in the room, then their conversation would not have to have a tag with each line.

As a writer there are certain expectations we have to meet in our writing for John Q Public to accept it.  It is also a fact, that writers tend to push the envelope and not pay attention to conventional thinking.  Sometimes it works and at other times it doesn’t.

This video shows the importance of using conventions when writing.  It mainly deals with grammar, but it is still writing conventions.

http://youtu.be/DZYIbqew7YU

3 responses »

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