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Book: Investigative Creative Writing

Chapter: 3. The Ten Commandments of Incorporating Dialogue: For Those Seeking to Inform the Unprepared, the Disengaged, and the Thoroughly Confused

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.34892


When it comes to writing prose, college students, especially at the introductory level, have a lot of trouble incorporating dialogue, dialogue tags, and proper punctuation. This chapter was written in response to these concerns in order to educate educators on ways to present technical information that often comes off as boring so therefore not worth paying attention to. Hence, I suggest some simple ways to view the handling of commas and periods in conjunction with dialogue tags, and how to avoid quotation clutter within paragraphs. The idea of using “piehole verbs” to make dialogue tags effective is discussed alongside the benefits of employing “dumb dialogue” and the use of contractions. The real reason for articulating dialogue, however, is articulated in the chapter’s conclusion.

Chapter Contributors

  • Mark Spitzer ( - markspitzer) 'University of Central Arkansas'