I admit that when it comes to grammar and punctuation - my skills are lacking. I have thought about taking a grammar class but need to find the time and place to do so.
So... most of my writing life I have done dialog like this:
"Hello." He said.
"Hello." She replied.
My critique partners pointed out that they thought this might be wrong - but were not sure. I did some research on the internet and in the library but was not able to find something useful. So I asked a friend at work who is a technical writer by profession and he corrected me.
It should be:
"Hello," he said.
"Hello," she replied.
When a dialog tag follows dialog there should be a comma, and the next word should be lower case - unless it is a proper noun and would be regularly capitalized. Of course, if the dialog ends in a question mark or an exclamation point - then the following word is still lower case, as in:
"Hello?" he said.
Now, if the text following the dialog is not a dialog tag - it would follow the usual conventions.
"Hello." He held out the morning paper.
"Hello." She took the paper and sat on the bench next to him.
I looked through several published books to verify this. Gosh, I had it totally wrong - but I hope I have it right now. If I don't feel free to correct me.
You may think this is a silly thing to post - but I did not know and could not find it on the internet. So here it is.
Having good grammar and punctuation as writers is very important. But it is a bad thing that this does not come naturally to me?