While writing a novel, it is important for an author to focus on aspects of writing, other than the plot or developing the characters. The value of correct punctuation need hardly be emphasized. Incorrect punctuation while writing dialogue confuses the reader. At times, it becomes difficult to make out who has said what. Be A Better Writer with Pearl Luke has useful tips on punctuating dialogue. Simple as these rules are, we sometimes make mistakes in our hurry to put down our thoughts. It’s tempting to assume we will tackle all these mistakes later when we edit the manuscript. Often, small mistakes get past unnoticed. Worse still, in my view, if these mistakes are not corrected, they become a part of your writing style.
How much better it is to get it right the first time. Practice makes perfect, goes the old adage. Your ability to write correctly punctuated dialogue is an important aspect of your development as a writer. It is well worth the effort.