Dots (ellipsis) and dashes. I'm not talking Morse code. I'm talking about using these little treasures in your dialogue. One of the ways I start writing a scene is by writing the dialogue. It's usually the first thing that I "see" my characters doing. After the dialogue is down, then I fill in the rest. I do know that I've doodled my manuscripts with dots (ellipsis) and dashes. What do I mean? Pick up any novel that has tons of dialogue and check out the punctuation. I'm not going to write a super long post about punctuating dialogue. (Seriously, my ADD is full swing today so sorry, plus I'm not awake yet.)
Do you see any lines that have ... or --? Yeah, I'm sure they are there. So, why and how?
Here is what I've learned.
... (Ellipsis dots) :
When writing dialogue, your character may not know what to say next or just have a loss of words.
Jack open the black velvet box. A large diamond ring, sparkled. Ariel stepped back. "Jack...I don't know what to say..."
The character may stutter or stammer.
"I...I...have the money." His sweating hands slipped as they opened the black bag.
Make sure you use only three when using ellipsis. It's one of those rules.
When writing dialogue, the dash can be used for an interruption or a sudden break in the thought or sentence structure.
Jack's hand shook as he held the box. "I thought you might like--"
"I love it," Ariel interrupted.
"Well--what's your answer," Jack said.
I'm not the best person for examples, but I think you get the idea. I tried to make this a short lesson. Like I said, my ADD is kicking in.
As always, use these in moderation. You don't want to overdo it.
Check out these links for more information on dashes and dots (ellipsis).
Dialogue by Victory Crane
The Ellipsis by R. Ann Siracusa
134 How to Punctuate Dialog in Fiction by Terence Kuch
Anything to add?
Any interesting posts on this topic? Please share.
I received a few awards over the past few weeks. Thank you so much. I hope to get to them soon.
I have about 30 pages left to revise for the first round of revisions on WiP#1. Can't wait. I will put it away for a while then go back and chop it up some more. During the WiP#1 rest time, I'm ready to start something brand spankin' new. I'm so ready to write. I'm super excited.
How was your weekend?
Have a great day!