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Asked • 07/01/19

Punctuation of direct speech, edge cases?

I recently learned that I have developed a consistent, but entirely wrong approach to punctuating direct speech in fiction. I am in the unenviable position of trying to relearn. Previously I wrote such things as: > "I'm done." She said. when the quoted speech was definitely, absolutely the end of a sentence. So now I know I need. > "I'm done," she said. This follows the rule that a period is only allowed when the end of the spoken sentence is also the end of the sentence in the narrative. For example: > "I'm done." She slammed the door on the way out. So, it now looks odd to me when there are multiple sentences in the speech: > "I can't take her. I'm done," she said. Can you reassure me that is correct, or give the correct form? Please don't suggest rewriting the sentence to put 'she said' in the middle - I'm aware of that: I'm specifically asking about the punctuation rules. The other odd case is speech ending with an ellipsis. Do sentence terminating ellipses (four periods normally) become: > "I can't take her. You know, ...," she said, nodding towards Jane. If so, are non-terminating ellipses dealt with the same way? > "I can't take ...," she nodded towards Jane, "any more!" or can non-terminating ellipses be used unadorned? > "I can't take ..." she nodded towards Jane, "any more!" I'd be very grateful if you could point me at references as well as answers. For the record I am a British writer writing for both British and US publication, so any variation is also interesting to me!

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