Asking questions

It can help to think of speech as an action. People don't speak for no reason!

Characters don't know everything about the world. They often need to ask questions.

When Brook finally met me at the front door, she asked, “Hey, Mango, how’s my hair?”

I gave the same answer I gave every morning, “Perfect.”

“Are you sure?”


What characters asks questions about tells us what they think is important.

For example, in the snippet above, Brook is asking about her hair—but she’s not looking for facts about her hair, she's really looking for emotional reassurance.

“You’re a tiger! How can you be afraid of the dark?” I said.

“I’m not, I just can’t light one for myself.”

“Why not?”

He waved one massive paw at me. “No thumbs.”

“Where are we going?” I asked Carmen, as she gathered her things.

“It’s your birthday, I’m going to show you a good time.”

I groaned. “This isn’t going to be a repeat of last year is it?”

Carmen looked at me, puzzled. “What was wrong with last year?”

Write your own variation where a character asks a couple of questions. Are they asking for facts, or for something else?

Meme of Fry from Futurama not knowing where to put punctuation

True dat. Dialogue punctuation can be finicky.

Here's a handy guide (or you can just google for dialogue punctuation—everyone has the same questions!)