Communicating Whether or Not Something is a Shout or Question


This is another issue that beginning writers-including I-have in the beginning. See, it’s easy to get confused about how to communicate something that seems more like a shout than a question. After learning more about the craft and how to put words together, it finally dawned on my about how to do this. So, here were go.

Ok, so your character is shouting something that could be a question too. This is a good way to write it:

“What did you do!” Talia snapped.

This is a question, but she’s yelling it at the same time. Now, in this case you have a choice between a “?” and “!” to work with. Grammatically, it’s incorrect to use both as like such: “!?” because it doesn’t make sense. So, this is where the words used in the dialogue and the particular tag solves that problem for you. By saying “Talia snapped,” it lets the reader know she was mad and allows us to trust that the reader will see in his/her head what we’re saying.

“What did you do?” Talia said (or Talia asked).

That shows how it’s a question. Note how you could use “Talia said” or “Talia asked” as your tag to get the point across.

The use of tags really helps things out, so don’t be afraid to use them.

I hope this helps.