But you can't use commas in the tags

Night Vale Marathon: Day 1

Dear listeners, here is a list of things:

- Emotions you don’t understand upon listening to a podcast

- Found pets, floating

- Found pets, falling

- Other pets, being really glad they are neither falling nor floating

- Civilisations under bowling alleys

- Cities that are visitable


- Five faces, half-seen, just before burning alive

- Trembling hands reaching for blinking boxes covered with wires and tubes

- Sandwiches

- Silence when there should be music

- Music when there should be a weather report

- Nothing, when you want to remember something

- The faint but pretty smell of vanilla, when you remember nothing

- Houses that do not exist

- Angels that are not allowed to exist

- Frank Chen who should have existed

- Night

- Dark

- Wake

- Start

Welcome to the Night Vale Marathon

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analpussydestroyer6969  asked:

Do you have any tips on writing dialogue fluently? I can write what the characters are saying fine, but I can't put it in without it seeming forced. What I'm having trouble with is formatting it. Like the "said character x" part.


We have a dialogue tag that should be most helpful!

It may feel weird using “Tom said” all the time, but I promise you, this is the most effective way to convey dialogue without breaking up the conversation in a story. Don’t fear overusing it; it is there in order to put the reader focus on the importance of the words being said.

A simple dialogue tag should look like this:

“We should go swimming,” Tom said.

Note that the comma goes within the quotation marks. Although Tom has spoken a full sentence, you would normally use a comma, not a period. You can also do a dialogue like this:

“We should go swimming.” Tom already had his swimsuit on and grinned hopefully at me as he spoke.

With the period within the quotation marks, I can use the sentence that follows to describe what Tom is doing or what he looks like. In editing, I would remove the “as he spoke” part–it’s obvious that Tom is speaking, because the sentence that follows is about him. This is not a dialogue tag, but it’s perfectly okay to do. I would not do the dialogue tag like this:

“We should go swimming,” said Tom. 

You might encounter this style in older works, but it’s very uncommon in most books now and I’ve only seen in when there’s a conversation happening between three or more people. If Tom begins the conversation or adds new information to it, it’s far more common to use the “Tom said” word order. (There are reasons for this that I cannot recall nor find on the internet. Anyone know?)

You don’t always need dialogue tags either! If two people are talking and it’s clear which sentence belongs to who, you can leave the sentence by itself. Like so:

“We should go swimming,” Tom said.

I crossed my arms. “Why should we do that?”

“Because it’s a nice day.”

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