With a couple of manuscripts under my belt (Maggie’s Five is out and Luke’s Five is up for release in 2015. Oh, the joy!) I have a new found respect for every single editor out there. Yay You!
I have come to learn – very quickly – that editing is a lot harder than it looks and that being an avid reader does not really help locate the mistakes on a manuscript I have written and read over a dozen times.
I found I have tendency to automatically self-correct without consciously seeing the errors, and thus, (**dramatic sigh***) they go undetected. Over and over and- you get the point.
The other area I am always getting confused by is punctuating dialogue and direct quotations. Just quietly and no offence intended, i have a sneaky feeling that I’m not the only one. As a reader, I’m pretty forgiving and as one of the healthiest culprits, hope that my readers are too. You could say I’m a work in progress kind of girl. But I am working on it. I imagine some of this goes in the ‘Lost in Translation’ basket, (different countries – different rules and all that) now that we’re all about the WWW.
I am, of course, referring to the wondrous Webmosphere that is making our pretty blue planet much smaller and accessible.
In my never ending endeavour at least appear like I know what I’m doing I came across this work sheet:
Punctuating Dialogue and Direct Quotations: A dozen Rules.
The sheet covers these things like . . .
1. Use quotation marks to begin and end a direct quotation. Separate the quoted material from the dialogue tag by commas. Do not use quotation marks to set off an indirect quotation.
2. If a question mark or an exclamation point occurs where one of the separating commas should be used, omit the comma and use the question mark or exclamation point to separate the quoted material.
3. The speaker’s words are set off from the rest of the sentence with quotation marks, and the first word of the quotation is capitalized. When the end of the quotation is also the end of the sentence, the period falls inside the quotation marks.
4. Both parts of a divided quotation are enclosed in quotation marks. The first word of the second part is not capitalized unless it begins a new sentence.
5. When writing only a part of a quoted sentence, do not begin the quotation with a capital letter unless the person you are quoting capitalized it or it is the first word in your sentence.
6. Quotes within quotes: If you need to have one character directly quoting another character, then use double quotes for your main dialogue and single quotes for the quote-within-a-quote.
Hope you put your best comma forward , or at least know where to put it. ;)
Cheers and Happy Reading