Don’t Abuse Quotation Marks!

by Renée Layberry

Using quotation marks in your narrative should usually be restricted to depicting dialogue, or to attribute an unusually special significance—and even in the case of special significance, it should be used very sparingly, lest the quotations lose their power from overuse. 

When I read a manuscript where quotation marks are over-used, I get the impression that the author is someone who uses air quotes a great deal when speaking.

Words are words. They have their own significance, and that significance is strong enough to stand on its own, if it’s the correct word. The power should be inherent in that carefully-chosen word. Let it be what it is without having to dress it up.