“5 Rules for Punctuating Dialogue” by Harvey Chapman. Novel Writing Help.
“Some say that punctuating dialogue is more a matter of style than following the rules. And they’re right, up to a point.
The novelist Cormac McCarthy, for example, doesn’t use quotation marks. That’s a deliberate stylistic choice and, for him, it works. I suspect that readers, though, put up with the lack of speech marks rather than actively welcome it.
If you’ve got a hankering to do something avant garde like that, I’m not going to tell you it’s wrong. But I would advise sticking to what everyone else does – which in the case of punctuation for dialogue means following the guidelines below.
Why? Because it’s invisible, and it therefore doesn’t act as a barrier between the reader and the story. And if you’re worried that “doing what everyone else does” is boring, there are many other (and better) ways of standing out from the crowd than making a wacky punctuation choice.”
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