Virtuosity logo ebooks

Tips for formatting dialogue

Dialogue follows some straightforward rules.  If you need to alter these to convey a particular rhythm of speech, discuss it with your editor, otherwise in general:

  1. Enclose normal dialogue within single quotation marks.
  2. Every new line of dialogue is indented, just like a new paragraph (about 1cm).
  3. Start a new paragraph every time a different character speaks.
  4. Use double quotation marks if the character speaking is directly quoting someone else. E.g. ‘When I arrived he shouted at me, “Get off my land!” he roared.’
  5. If someone is quoted within speech and the quote ends the speech, the correct way to close the punctuation would be… land!”.’
  6. To show odd or quirky use of words within text you can use either single or double quotes, just be consistent.
  7. Do not change your font to show emphasis, simply use the italic or bold of serif font you are using.
  8. Do not change font size for emphasis, unless it is a children’s book and the typography plays a role in the page design. If this is so, agree with your designer an A, B, C size guide and mark up the text with the letters.
  9. Do not show SHOUTING by using capital letters.  Simply describe speech style outside the dialogue, e.g. he shouted etc.

Last but by no means least:

Proofread before the book goes to typesetting, it will drastically reduce the number of amends the typesetter will have to take in, which will save you a lot of budget. Typesetters can charge corrections to text that is set at £100+VAT per hour

Edit before your file goes off to the typesetter for the same reason.

Letting us format and proofread your book will save you a lot of time and energy.  If you have a project you would like to discuss, don’t hesitate to talk to us about your eBook formatting today.