Writing Dialogue

Dialogue is a great way to make your stories more interesting but you need to make sure you format it properly! Follow these simple steps when writing dialogue:

• Always use quotation marks around what is actually spoken.

• Begin a new paragraph for a new speaker. Make sure you indent it slightly.

• Begin each sentence with a capital letter.

• Each line of dialogue should end with a punctuation mark INSIDE the quotation marks. Here are some examples:

• “Watch out for the zebras, they bite!”

• “Did you bring your zebra to school?” he asked.

• “I think I’ve left my zebra in the parking lot,” he said.

• When a new sentence follows, you can use a full stop. For example: “There are not supposed to be any zebras on the train,” said the conductor. “You will have to leave immediately.”

• Or, you can use a comma: ”There are not supposed to be any zebras on the train,” said the conductor, “you will have to leave immediately.”

DIALOGUE: AN EXAMPLE

Dialogue is a great way to make your stories more interesting but you need to make sure you format it properly! Follow these simple steps:

DIALOGUE WRITING ACTIVITY

The following is an example of dialogue without appropriate formatting, including capital letters and apostrophes. Rewrite this passage observing the rules listed above.

so how have you been feeling the psychologist asked
oh not too bad jane replied
any more dreams
she sighed just one
and it was as terrifying as the others
she didn’t respond for a moment
yes she whispered finally
tell me about it he said leaning forward in his chair
she hesitated for a moment, remembering the terrible dream
it always starts the same she said hesitantly
the psychologist started scribbling in his notepad
im standing in the middle of a cornfield and the sky is red

DIALOGUE TEST

Test your ability to write dialogue with this short quiz.