Dialogue It Out

Rules and Regulations to write Rocking Dialogue

Why is Dialogue important?

Any Creative Writing class requires the ability to write dialogue. Your story becomes more interesting if your characters, talk, discuss, and have conflict with their words. The following are a few basic rules to writing dialogue.

Dialogue Basics

Dialogue should be enclosed in two quotation marks, and normally include a Dialogue tag such as, "She Said," "he screamed," "they murmured." These dialogue tags can be put before, between, or after the actual dialogue.


Before - Bob asked, "When are we leaving for our competition?"

Place the comma before the quotations, Indicate the beginning of a new sentence with a capital letter inside of the quotation, punctuation should be inside the quotations, and then a closing quotation mark.

Between - "When are we leaving," Bob asked, "for our competition?"

Capital letter to start a sentence inside the quotation, a comma to end the first quotation, close quotation, then your tag, open quotation, lower case letter to indicate the second piece of a quotation, punctuation to end the quotation, close quotation.

After - "When are we leaving for our competition," Bob asked?

Open quotation, Capital letter to start a sentence, a comma to end the quoted sentence, close quotation, dialogue tag, and then your punctuation.

Special Instances

"When are we leaving tomorrow," Bob Asked? "I need to know when to wake up."

If the Dialogue tag separates two individual sentences of quoted speech, capitalize the beginning of each sentence, and punctuate after the dialogue tag.

"When are we leaving tomorrow? I need to know when to wake up, " Bob said.

If their are two sentences punctuate and capitalize inside the quotations, comma after the second individual sentence, and punctuate after the dialogue tag.

More then One Speaker?

All the rules above should be followed, even with multiple speakers. Each new character should start on a new line.

Even if the dialogue tags are taken away you should still start each speaker on a new line.

All dialogue should be indented in from the other paragraphs.


"Talk It Out: How To Punctuate Dialogue In Your Prose." LitReactor. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. <http://litreactor.com/columns/talk-it-out-how-to-punctuate-dialogue-in-your-prose>.