Top Tip Of The Week

If you’re writing a short story or novel and one character has a large passage of dialogue, you can break it down into shorter paragraphs rather than one big block of words. This helps readability. You’ll find an example below. As you’ll see, each paragraph should begin with speech marks, but only the last paragraph needs to end with them to signify that the dialogue of that character is at an end:


“I’ll have the prawn cocktail for starters,” Mrs Ponsonby-Smythe commanded. “No, I’d better not actually. My stomach is a little delicate at the moment so I’d best avoid sea food. I’d like the soup. Oh, but it’s tomato, isn’t it? Far too plain. I see you have pate. Ghastly stuff, if you ask me. No, I won’t be having any of that muck. Where are the rest of the starters? There’s only three here. You can’t only have three starters on the menu! And they’re certainly not of the standard I would expect of ‘The Palace’.

“I’d like to complain to the manager. Appalling! Appalling, I tell you. This is supposed to be a five star restaurant and you’re serving food fit for a grubby little pub. I promised Mother the best. I told her, ‘I’m taking you to ‘The Palace’, Mother. A treat for your 90th birthday.’ She’s always wanted to go to ‘The Palace’.

“Oh, it says ‘The Place’ on the menu. It should say ‘The Palace’. Shouldn’t it?”


I hope you all have a great weekend 🙂



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2 Responses to Top Tip Of The Week

  1. This is true. I also try describing what the speaker is doing, how he’s feeling, or even how the listener is reacting to the speech as I feel that (in the right places) it gives more life to the dialogue. Great advice, as always.

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