Section 412.765 of Ch. 6

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This one seems to keep going and going and…any way, here we go again.

If a character is quoting another character…put the interior quote between single quote marks. What?!

Example: “Like the author said, ‘Write Dazzling Dialogue.’ I’m like, okay.”

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Sorry Susan.

No semi-colons, ever, in dialogue. My bestie believes semi-colons are under used. The average person doesn’t speak in essay form. We speak, hopefully, in complete sentences. Therefore, NO semi-colons. Mr. Bell describes the semi-colon as a ‘burp or hiccup’ in an otherwise normal sentence structure. Sorry Bestie! In non-fiction writings it is fine to use them. These writings tend to lean toward the analytical side and the use of semi-colons aid in the thought process. How fancy.

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Buy the book! Learning be good.

HI! How are you? How was your Monday? I got to celebrate my book birthday for O-B*tch-uary. Yes, book birthdays are a thing. Get with the program. I partied hard promoting the crap out of the book. Did you buy yours? The links are down below if you are looking for places to pick one up. Use the Universal link- it will give you 8 options for purchase. Speaking of books. We are still on our journey through the endless offerings of Chapter 6 of How to Write Dazzling Dialogue by James Scott Bell. This is another book to buy if you haven’t done so yet. It will be well worth the few bucks to have it to refer to at later points. You know the drill by now. Run along and get your copy, refill your fancy cuppa with massive amounts of caffeine, and grab a nibble. Believe it or not, I am sipping coffee and eating a bowl of applesauce. Yup. Yum.

Moving on–> Use exclamation points sparingly!!!!!!!!!

Well alrighty then. We must be boring and not yell in dialogue. As Mr. Bell says, the exclamation is a loud party goer demanding attention. You can use them but be selective where they are placed. Yes, sometimes your characters will scream, and an exclamation point is required but keep it there. Not every line that follows will require it.

Paragraph breaks in a monologue.

Think of the villain monologuing. At some point you need to break it into paragraphs just like you would a paper. Allow the bad guy to take a breath. But how do you do that? Thank you for asking. You start your dialogue with your open quotes and at the end of the paragraph you DO NOT use closed quotes, then break into the next paragraph with open quotes. Breathe. We can figure this out.

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All I heard was…

Example: “I am talking and talking and blah, blah, blah until I need to take a breath.

“I am talking again. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

**Notice there was no end quote after the word breath, but it returns at the beginning of the next sentence. That is a paragraph break.

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I love…

But, in most cases, or the modern version of this is to use the quote throughout when using action tags. The character isn’t sitting perfectly still the entire time they are speaking. That would be weird.

No punctuation or attributions after an em-dash, except the close quote.

Remember, the em-dash is an interruption. It means your character is being cut off, so the sentence ends before it is meant to. Treat your punctuation the same way. Cut it off.

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Example: “I’m telling you, we can’t—”–>The em-dash is two of the dotted lines. When you hit enter it will become one solid line.

“Shut it! You can’t tell me anything! I will use exclamation points whenever I want!”


This is when a character stops themselves. They stop because a new thought or idea pops in their imaginary head.

Example: “So what you are saying is—” Throw an action tag in here. “Wait, whoa, I just had the coolest idea. We can start reading New ink. Used ideas. for info on writing.”

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You can use the em-dash or, if you prefer, the ellipses. The ellipses is the three dots in a row. There is no space before or after these dots…they become a complete punctuation after the third. This is when people pause for a beat or two and then continue with their thoughts. I use it often because I can, and I like them.

This is the end of PART 1 of Chapter 6. Seriously. We will be jumping into Part 2: Attributions, Adverbs, Action Tags. Strap in and prepare for the next ride.

Please remember that I am not trying to write this book for you word for word. I am skipping a lot of detail. I highly suggest you purchase the book and read between the lines.

Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.

Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.

I’m always looking for new friends!

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Author: Ticia Rani

I am...interesting. I am a writer, dreamer, mom, wife, veteran, friend, villain, and the wearer of many hats, but I don't look good in hats- go figure. I LOVE TO WRITE. I want to tell stories. I want to make you laugh, cry, and scare the crap out of you, and make you ask "why the hell did you do that?" I want to make you cheer my characters on or want to shake the crap out of them for things they say and/or do. I want to bring you along for the ride. Ready? Set?...READ!!!

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