‘Gone with the Wind’ Facts You Didn’t Know

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Gone with the Wind Facts You Didn’t Know

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About Dr. George A. Tann

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About Dr. George A. Tann

Supernatural Book Series

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Nevermore by Keith R. A. DeCandido

Witch’s Canyon by Eric Kripke, Jeff Marlotte

Bone Key by Keith R. A. DeCandido

Heart of the Dragon by Keith R. A. Decandido

The Unholy Cause by Joe Schreiber

War of the Sons by David Reed, Rebecca Dessertine

One Year Gone by Rebecca Dessertine

Coyote’s Kiss by Christa Faust

Night Terror by John Passarella

Rite of Passage by John Passarella

Fresh Meat by Alice Henderson

Carved in Flesh by Tim Waggoner

Cold Fire by John Passarella

Mythmaker by Tim Waggoner

The Usual Sacrifices by Yvonne Navarro

 

The Characters I’m most Excited to See in Solo: A Star Wars Story

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Solo: A Star Wars Story will be coming out in nearly three months and after an exciting article from Entertainment Weekly last week featuring the movie my knowledge of these new, and old, characters has been broadened. So, today I’m going to share with you the character’s stories I’m most interested in seeing in Solo. Enjoy! Val […]

via The Characters I’m Most Excited To See in ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’: In Increasing Order — Annlyel Online

Blood and Roses

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New M7 Fanfic.

Blood and Roses

 

8 Tips for Punctuating Dialogue Tags

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1. Punctuated with a comma

Often dialogue is punctuated with a comma that separates it from the tag that immediately follows. In this case, the “said” tag should not be capitalized and, in America, the comma always goes inside the quotation mark.

Right: “I’m so tired,” she said.
Wrong: “I’m so tired” she said.
Wrong: “I’m so tired,” She said.
Wrong: “I’m so tired.” She said.
Wrong: “I’m so tired.” she said.

Right: He yelled, “Come back here!”
Wrong: He yelled “Come back here.”

2. Punctuated with question marks or exclamation points

Sometimes dialogue tags are punctuated with question marks or exclamation points. In this case, you still do not capitalize the tag that follows.

Right: “Quit that right now!” she yelled.
Wrong: “Quit that right now!” She yelled.

Right: “What are you saying?” she asked.
Wrong: “What are you saying?” She asked.

3. Ends in a period or other punctuation

Many times a dialogue ends in a period or other punctuation, and the dialogue tag that follows is capitalized. This happens only when the “tag” is an action rather than describing a way of saying something. Theses actions are called beats or descriptive beats, and they are complete sentences on their own. (Please see #7 for more about beats.)

Right: “I think so.” He nodded.
Wrong: “I think so,” he nodded.
Wrong: “I think so.” he nodded.

Right: “You’re wrong.” She jerked away.
Right: “You’re wrong!” She jerked away.
Right: “I’m wrong?” She jerked away.
Wrong: “You’re wrong,” she jerked away.
Wrong: “You’re wrong!” she jerked away.
Wrong: “I’m wrong?” she jerked away.

4. Inserted into the middle of a sentence

A dialogue tag can be inserted into the middle of a sentence. When this happens, the dialogue tag is set off with commas, and the sentence is capitalized as if the dialogue tag weren’t there.

Right: “Andy,” his mother called, “come here now!”
Wrong: “Andy,” his mother called, “Come here now!”

Note: However, in this particular case, the mother just might be using TWO sentences (Andy! Come here now.),  depending on how she is calling or what you want to emphasize as the author, which would mean it is also correct to have a period after the dialogue tag:

Right: “A-a-a-andy,” his mother called. “Come here now!”
Right: “Andy!” his mother called. “Come here now!”

Note: When an action interrupts a quote, the “tag” is still set off by commas, such as in this next example, and the rest of the dialogue sentence is not capitalized.

Right: “You think,” he paused for the space of a heartbeat, “she did that?”
Wrong: “You think,” he paused for the space of a heartbeat. “She did that?”
Wrong: “You think.” He paused for the space of a heartbeat. “She did that?”
Wrong: “You think.” He paused for the space of a heartbeat, “She did that?”

Right: “You think,” he swallowed hard, “she did that?”
Wrong: “You think,” he swallowed hard. “She did that?”
Wrong: “You think.” He swallowed hard. “She did that?”
Wrong: “You think,” he swallowed hard, “She did that?”

Note: Such dialogue tags may be better set off with em dashes or ellipses, or rewritten altogether: “You think . . .” He paused and swallowed hard. “You think she did that?” Or “You think”—he swallowed hard—”she did that?”

Be careful when you break up dialogue with a tag. Set it off with commas only if it’s interrupting a sentence, and not when it’s simply stuck in between two sentences. One way to tell is to take out the tag and punctuate the sentences correctly, and then insert the tag.

Right: “That’s what I believe,” she concluded. “What do you think?”
Wrong: “That’s what I believe,” she concluded, “what do you think?”

5. Shake up the “she said/he said”

You can shake up the  “she said/he said” tags with other words like yelled, called, screamed, cried, grumbled, choked out, mumbled, reasoned, concluded, joked, etc. However, these should absolutely not be overused and doing so is clearly the mark of an inexperienced author.

Inexperienced:

“I won’t go,” she grumbled, glaring at him.
He screamed, “You will go and like it!”
“I hate you,” she choked out.
“Please trust me,” he reasoned. “It’s for your own good.”
“You hate me,” she concluded.

Yes, this might be exaggerated, but if you have successive “creative” dialogue tags like this, even if you have a little more action and dialogue in each paragraph, it is not good writing. “Said” is almost invisible, but these words are not.

6. Words like “laughed” and “grinned” are actions

Words like “laughed” and “grinned” are actions, not ways of saying something, so those words are separated from the dialogue with a period, not a comma. Don’t go too overboard, though. Again, sometimes a simple “he said” is all that’s needed.

Right: “I did it this morning.” He beamed.
Right: She laughed. “I did it this morning.”
Wrong: She laughed, “I did it this morning.”
Wrong: “I did it this morning,” he grinned.

7. Beware the -ly adverb addiction

Beware the -ly adverb addiction; in fact, avoid them like the plague. Only inexperienced authors resort to use too many -ly adverbs. Our suggestion is to have maybe a couple or a half dozen in an entire novel because there are much better ways to SHOW rather than tell how the character is feeling.

Inexperienced:

“I’m so tired,” she said dully.
“Maybe you’re right,” the teacher said thoughtfully.
“Come back here!” he yelled emphatically.
“I hate what you have done,” she said angrily.
“Cry about it, why don’t you?” he said mockingly.
“I can’t wait!” she said happily.
“When will he get here?” the child asked nervously.

Note: some exceptions might be to very occasionally use “softly” or “quietly,” but even these can be changed to something like this:

“I’m exhausted.” Her voice was so quiet he had to lean forward to catch the words.

Instead of -ly adverbs, use creative beats to tag dialogue. These show action instead of telling the reader how to feel, so here are a few more examples to show how longer beats can replace “saids” and -ly adverbs.

Experienced: “I’m not going to my room!” Amy stomped her foot and glared at her mother.
Inexperienced: “I’m not going to my room!” Amy yelled angrily.

Experienced: “Do I have to do this?” She folded her hands together to hide their trembling.
Inexperienced: “Do I have to do this?” she asked, fearfully.

Note that sentences with -ly adverbs are shorter and easier to write, but they are also repetitive and lazy. Lazy writing is never good writing.

8. Leave out the dialogue tag

Often, you can simply leave out the dialogue tag, rather than replacing it with a beat (as shown in the previous tip).

Experienced:

“I hate this song,” he grumbled.
“What? But I love it!” Claire reached to turn the music louder, grinning at her brother.
“Please, no.”
“Have you ever even listened to it all the way through?”
“I don’t need to.”

Inexperienced:

“I hate this song,” he grumbled.
“What? But I love it!” Claire reached to turn the music louder, grinning at her brother.
“Please, no,” he pleaded.
“Have you ever even listened to it all the way through?” she asked.
“I don’t need to,” he said.

Note: This technique usually only works if the conversation is taking place between two people. If there are more than two people present in the scene, readers will be confused about who’s saying what.

Also, never use multiple tags in one paragraph (in other words, when one person is talking the whole time), especially not “said.” Instead, use beats (action) if you feel you need action to break up the dialogue or explain something.

Experienced:

“I’m going out,” his mother called over her shoulder. “Don’t forget to feed the cat.” She paused in the doorway. “Oh, and I left some leftovers in the fridge for you to eat later. Love you!”

Inexperienced:

“I’m going out,” his mother called over her shoulder. “Don’t forget to feed the cat,” she added. “Oh, and I left some leftovers in the fridge for you to eat later,” she said. “Love you!”

Comments and questions are welcome. And if you enjoyed this post, please share it using the buttons to the left.

By Cátia Shattuck
Book Cave Team
Bringing authors and readers together through discounted, content-rated book deals.