How to Write a Sermon Into My Manuscript
Question: One of the characters in my manuscript is a minister. He is giving a sermon on forgiveness. It will only be a portion of the sermon; the part that the main character needs to hear to lead her to forgiving the minister, as they have a past together.
How do I go about writing this into my manuscript? Should it be in quotes or should it be underlined so it is italicized?
Thanks, Glen! Answer:
Generally, if a speech is more than one paragraph, you put a quotation mark at the start of each paragraph, but do not put a quotation mark at the end of any paragraph but the last one.
However, if you have a really long speech, such as a sermon, you should consider breaking it up by inserting the main character's observations of the minister's actions or appearance, other things happening during the sermon, the main character's reactions to the sermon, etc. You could have a whole other subplot happening during the speech, if it makes sense.
Follow Up on Writing a Portion of A Sermon Into My Story
One of the characters in my manuscript is a minister and I asked you about how to write a portion of his sermon into the story. You said that there should be a quotation mark at the beginning of each paragraph and a quotation mark after the final paragraph. I like your suggestion of breaking it up and writing about the reactions of his love interest who is in the congregation listening. I also want to describe the minister's actions and voice tone as he is speaking to make it more visual to the reader.
I just want to clarify how I go about doing that with all of the breaks in the sermon. Should I put a quotation mark at the beginning of each paragraph and, when I break from the sermon, add the quotation mark at the end of the paragraph; then start again with the quotation mark when I return to the sermon? I anticipate breaking quite a bit to add description and bringing the love interest's reactions into the story so, at times, the paragraphs may only be a few sentences.
I hope this question makes sense to you.
Answer: Yes, that's the way you would do it. The only thing I would add is that when you return to the sermon after a break, you may need to add either a speech tag (e.g. The Minister continued,) or a bit of action on the Minister's part to make it clear to the reader know that you are returning to the sermon.
You have to use your judgment on this, because it's not always necessary.