Free Course

The Author's Guide To Dialogue Punctuation

Improve the way you write, format and punctuate dialogue.

The course covers six key areas:

  1. The first looks at basic principles of writing dialogue: quotation marks.
  2. The second expands on this knowledge: other punctuation marks.
  3. The third looks at attribution (the old “he said,” “she said” thing).
  4. The fourth examines beats (the text between dialogue).
  5. The fifth ties up the loose ends.
  6. The sixth provides an example of dialogue that is unformatted and has no punctuation. You should use this as an example to fine-tune your skills.
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The Author's Guide To Dialogue Punctuation - free writing course

What's in the course?

Lesson 1: Fundamental Rules

In the first lesson, we’ll address some of the basics. You’ll learn about starting a new paragraph for each new speaker; you’ll discover the “best practice” for using quotation marks, and we’ll examine the difference between US and UK English.

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Lesson 2: Basics of Punctuation

The second lesson we'll addresses punctuation of dialogue. You’ll learn a set of skills to understand the correct usage of punctuation marks. You’ll also discover the importance of separating spoken words (dialogue) and those presented via the narrator.

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Lesson 3: Attribution of Dialogue

In this lesson, you will discover some important element of attribution (dialogue tags). You’ll find out why using “said” is often the best choice. You will also discover a simple-to-apply technique that will fully engage you with your reader and will have you writing more interesting dialogue.

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Lesson 4: Context of your Dialogue

The fourth lesson will introduce beats, which are the small sections of description between dialogue. You will learn when best to apply beats, see examples of them at work and discover how they can control the context of your character’s spoken words.

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Lesson 5: Loose Ends

This lesson looks to address a few open issues. You’ll learn about the difference between direct and reported speech; you’ll discover how to format monologues that spread across multiple paragraphs, and we look a little deeper into attribution.

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Lesson 6: Example

In the final lesson, you will be presented with an unformatted block of text. This will give you a chance to practice the skills you have learned from the previous emails. You’ll also be given a link to a punctuated version of the example.

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