By using direct quotes, you can bring a story alive.
Before you start writing the story, look at the quotes you’ve got from your sources and ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the quote state something in an interesting way or give information that should come directly from the source?
- Does it reveal the source’s opinions or feelings?
- Does it back up the main point or a supporting point in your story?
- Is the quote descriptive or dramatic?
If you answer no to all of these questions, either paraphrase or summarise the quote as narrative, or discard it altogether.
7 tips for using quotes in your writing
- Use anecdotes and direct quotes to tell the story; try not to use too many of your own words.
- Avoid quotes that are unclear, are irrelevant to the focus of your story, or repeat what’s already been said.
- Talk to more than one person to get a more complete picture.
- Organise the quotes so that they tell a story; then add facts from your interviews.
- Don’t put too many quotes together; break them up with a paragraph of factual information.
- End with a good quote or an anecdote that relates to the lead.
- Always check all quotes with your sources!