How to Correctly Punctuate Dialogue for Novels

Punctuating dialogue tags from The Writers After Dark Blog. The lowercase letter after splitting the dialogue with a tag was extremely helpful. Thank you.

Writers After Dark

dialogue-punctuation-rules

Writing dialogue is messy. Am I right?

It has so many rules, it makes me wish I’d gone with my original plan in life. I’d intended to become an all-in-one supermodel-psychologist/part-time medical researcher. What? I thought I wanted to save people, discover things, and change the world wearing a tiara and killer heels. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I just wanted to sit on my couch drinking coffee and writing all day while wearing no pants.

Plus, apparently my status as a supermodel got cut short (no pun intended) by my lack of height. And love of cake. Also, had I continued studying psychology, I’d have been forced to stop listening to the voices in my head . . . and that was SO not cool. The thing was . . . I didn’t know how to properly punctuate any of my internal…

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No Punctuation

Dear Love,

your voice is the sound of pages

I’ve been waiting to read my entire life

like run on sentences

in a book too perfect to end

tell me

how do you shackle power to punctuation

If I could

I would end this poem with a period

or place a comma in the places I need

to catch my breath

but you

will only rush to the tips of my fingers

you see love

will only leak

from the pores in my skin

like the sounds of many waters

flooding its way from Noah’s Ark

you shelter me

like an infant

carefully encased in its mother’s womb

before language existed

before there was ever a need of capital letters

dear captain

you chose us

before there was a thing called history

sucking at its mother’s breast

we are nurtured by the past

to understand the future

Dear Love,

you are the answer to every question

and the sound of your mercy

is the only thing worth setting my alarm clock to

so I’ve chosen to reverence you this way

with outstretched pieces of paper

and ink pens

and a medley of words

all purposed to form the letters of your name

all destined to sing your praise

with no punctuation

no commas

or periods

or apostrophes

just run on sentences

limitless

like sign language I don’t remember learning in Public School

and while my tongue clings to the roof of my mouth

while my heart waits

I’ll write you poems

in the form of prayers

on the palms of my hands

and I’ll leave them running

like fountains of compassion

overflowing the levees of thought

I’ll leave them open

unedited

unrevised

and grammatically incorrect

so you’ll read me

like you always do

and never forget what my heart looks like

with no punctuation

because all the world has ever needed

was love.