writing

A Question About Quotation Marks

Okay, all you writers (and readers) of fiction out there in the blogosphere, I have a question for you. There seems to be a trend (movement, what-have-you) to do away with the use of quotation marks to indicate dialogue. How do you feel about this? Are you okay with it? Like it? Don’t like it? Why?

Speaking for myself, I’m inclined against the idea. As a writer, I know it can be a challenge just to make clear to the reader exactly who is speaking and how, even with the device of quotes. I can imagine the difficulty of writing the same scene without them and maintaining that clarity in the reader. And if your story includes snippets of interior monologue (as mine often do), how do you differentiate that from spoken dialogue?

It would be an interesting exercise, or perhaps a conceit for a particular work, but I can’t see it as the new standard.

In my opinion, having no quotation marks as the standard has a huge potential to only confuse the reader, possibly even to the point where they give up on the story. And while we, as writers, should be pushing the boundaries of technique and challenging our readers, we must also realize that we are already competing for their attention with countless media that are far easier. The reading audience in Western Society is already shrinking. Do we really want to make reading harder?

Let me know what you think.

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