November 2017

Welcome to Research Paper season.

Really good example of Research Paper formatting available here: link.

Now, you may wonder: where did I find it?
This is a great field guide that goes along with your Style Guide.

October 2017

Inner/Outer Dialogue Format Test 1


Number 4 Train, Midtown Manhattan, 5:02PM

Whoa, I’m on the train, and the only voices I hear are in Chinese.

A man cracks his neck, shaking his head. <Crrriaaaak, Crrriaaaacck>

“Hold that door — hold that!”

“I don’t want this Muslim girl drinking ice.”

A Woman [talking into her phone]: “Hi Linda, the daughter was fighting her.”

[Sounds from phone; inaudible talk; female voice.]

“He’s soltero – I can make him a profile in a dating website. He likes them young.”

[Giggles—female—from more than one voice now]

Doors Open. Woman on Phone leaves

At this point, I forget about my assignment and fall asleep for almost a half hour.

5:30 PM, 4 Train.



Downtown Brooklyn, walking west on Jay Street towards Namm.

It’s around 9:42AM. A guy on his phone is coming towards me quickly. He seems really upset – almost aggressive. He keeps repeating the same words, and his voice — at first loud — fades as it gets further away from me.

“Alright, alright!!!…,” she shouts.

He keeps talking.



listen…                                                Listen


listen     …                                             listen …”



You’ll want your dialogues to be easily read. Hence, I suggest using a few words of location or setting–this can be very brief–using italics. As long as your format is consistent, the reader will understand and be able to hear the different “voices” (whether they are inner or outer). There are a number of ways you can do this. Most will make the dialogue you are transcribing look a little bit like a play. Here are some examples to get you started.

Example 1:

7AM. At the Church Avenue F and G trains stations. There are a bunch of upset people who act like they are late for work or school. Man in Suit keeps checking his watch and looking down the tunnel for the train coming.

Man in Suit: “Where the heck is the train?”

Woman In Red Sitting Two Seats Down From Me [while staring at me, writing]: “I have no idea what I’m going to do.”

There is a group of children running down to the other side of the platform. They are about 9 or 10 years old, on average.

I hope that the Woman in Red is not getting mad at me.

Now, there is a train arriving. Everyone gets up as I stay seated. The green reflection of the trains shows that it is a G Train. Everyone returns to their positions, upset.

Man in Suit: “Oh my god, where is this damned  train?!” (He yells as if it will make the train come faster.)

Surprisingly, the train is now arriving. Man in Suit rushes to the door in the exact spot where the door will open.

etc etc.


Example 2. Note that this format leaves a lot of space, and does not use quotation marks:

7 Train. 7:40PM. A man of around 19 is standing, holding the pole. He talks to another man who appears to be his friend.

First Guy:             I broke up with my girlfriend. She flirted with other guys. Basically, cheating on me. I wasted six months with her, and this is what I got.

Second Guy:      Damn, I feel bad for you. Wasn’t she your first girlfriend?

etc. etc.


Example 3, with slightly different formatting. Inner dialogue has no quotation mark. The speakers are not identified, but they are always indicated by quotation marks:

7 Train. 7:40PM. A man of around 19 is standing, holding the pole. He talks to another man who appears to be his friend.

“Only wanted a girlfriend to just have.”

“You picked wrong.”

Gosh, these people are having a tough day. I wish I didn’t have to sit here.

“Why did you even go out with her?”

I wonder what he’s going to say now. Oh no.

“Man, you always choose the wrong girl.”

etc etc.


Another example. An easy and sort of classic use of italics and quotes. Example #4:

Midnight. Starbucks on Madison Avenue and 57th Street, Manhattan.

I wish I’d never left the house. No one is sitting near me, but there are a number of people at the other end of the room. Man, it’s pretty empty. I feel kind of self conscious, writing in the corner. I am drinking tea.

“Hi, could I get a macchiato?”

“Vente or grande?”


Why can I hear the people at the counter, even though I’m so far away? I wonder….

[Music. “Uptown Funk.” Again?!] “Julio, get the stretch!”

“Um, I asked for a vente and this is a grande. Can you please get my order right?”

Wow, this woman is picky. Why is she even ordering a coffee at midnight anyway; doesn’t she ever want to sleep? My herbal tea is getting cold.

“We show up when we show up – smoother than a fresh jar o skippy…”

“Here’s your change.”

“Um, okay.”

**********************************END of DIALOGUE EXAMPLES************************************************