Writing Rules #3 – Dialogue

As an aspiring writer who hated high school English class, I have a lot to learn about the basic syntax and rules to follow when writing a novel. So I listen to many, many podcasts about writing.

I discovered this one on AmericanWriters.com podcast by Tom Occhipinti. The topic is dialogue, and it includes basic structural information about when to start a new paragraph and how much attribution is required in the dialogue.

It is very helpful info that is as appropriate now as when it was first published on his blog. Here’s the link to the Dialogue Lesson.

Basic helpful structural rules for me were:
-Whenever someone else starts to talk, a new paragraph is required.
-If you start the paragraph by describing what a character is doing, and then they talk, you don’t really need to add another attribution since it is implied that everything in the paragraph is about/from this character.
-“He said” and “She said” should be the most common attributions. “Don’t use many other types of descriptive attributions!” Bob exclaimed.
– If there are only two characters in the conversation, then you can go light and easy on saying who said what, since it should be obvious. Just don’t go many paragraphs without an attribution to keep the reader on track.

His podcast has much more than this, but that’s enough of a review for now. Check out his many podcasts and blog.

“Good night,” the blogger said.

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