by C,M, Albrecht
How many people does it take to write a best seller? How many of them will live to brag about it? In this dark novel of intrigue and deception the line between good guys and bad guys is blurred. Very blurred.
Question from the e-mail: What is the most common problem you see in submitted ms?
Answer: Mistakes in Dialogue punctuation.
All too often we see speechtags connected with periods instead of commas.
If it's a "said" it gets a comma at the end of what IS said, to connect the tag that shows who said it.
If it's an Action Tag, a description of what someone DID after hearing what was said, it gets a period, at the end of the dialog and inside the quotes. An Action Tag is Always a whole separate sentence.
In English 101 we were all taught to type the punctuation "outside the quotation marks", like that. But for typesetting, they should ALWAYS go inside.
That is because in the old days of movable type, if they were put outside, when the galley was inverted to set it into the press, they all fell out on the floor!