I am a first-time novelist and have finished my first novel that I hope to self-publish at the end of the year. My book is finished apart from teh punctuation questions I have. I have used guides to figure it out, but if anyone is willing to help with one or more answers, then it would be greatly appreciated!
- "Those things I said; I didn’t mean a word of it."
I know that semi-colons are not common in dialogue, so what else would work here? A colon? Em-dash?
- "You’re just making excuses—rationalizing your behavior.”
Should I use an EM dash here? Or just a comma?
- "I mean, was it really that awful?" Should there be a comma here or nothing? "I mean was it really that awful?"
Does I MEAN work like I THINK or is it more of a little filler expression so needs a comma? What about if it was this sentence: "I didn’t tell you about John because I want to be with him. I mean, not really." Is the comma here ok?
I am this close to calling the whole second chance thing off. I have put second chance in italics. Would that be right?
"“It’s been . . . it’s not been too bad."
Here, the character starts a sentence, then pauses, and says something slightly different. Is the above ok or does it have to be:
“It’s been . . . . It’s not been too bad."
When there are pauses, do you need to start a new sentence for something like this with a full stop after the ellipses? How about if there were several changes of direction.
Is this ok: “You...I...You’re...not disturbing."
Or does it have to be:
“You— I— You’re . . . not disturbing." using em dashes to show the sentence has been interrupted?
- After years of unnecessary injections of God knows what.
Does God knows what have to be in italics?
- Maybe I’m not the only one who knows the truth about John; maybe other people do.
Is a semi-colon needed here? Or em dash? Full stop?
- "John said it last time: most marriages don't survive such a loss."
Is the colon here ok in dialogue?
- "You’ll feel much better and you won’t feel like to throw up every time you see him—your words.”
If a character is quoting the exact words another character spoke previously, are italics ok or do you have to add inverted commas? E.g.
"You’ll feel much better and you won’t feel like to 'throw up' every time you see him—your words.”
- ". that whore, Joanna, has been -- sorry, I hate that word -- but Jake told me about two other married men shes's...
Are the em dashes above ok? Or should it be ellipses?
Thank you so much to anyone willing to give me some advice about any or all of these questions!