Lyra asked where you put punctuation around quotes and parentheses. I’m delighted to tell you. Wait: Are you British or writing for a British audience? If so, go read The Guardian, because this post will be useless to you. The rest of us yobs can read on. (No, I don’t know whether yobs is a real word; carry on.)
Here are the rules, comrades.
1. Put a period inside the parentheses if and only if there is a complete sentence within the parentheses; otherwise, the period goes outside the parens (as they are called in the publishing world, because we are too lazy to spell out parentheses). See what I just did there? (Did you even notice?)
2. Put all punctuation that is part of what the person is saying inside the quotes when you write in dialogue. “Oh my god!” she said. “I’m a lowly science copyeditor. I forgot about dialogue!”
“You let me deal with dialogue, little lady,” said the handsome stranger to the copyeditor.
“Fuck off,” said the copyeditor. “Dealing with punctuation is my job. I think I can handle a little fiction now and then.”
2a. However, the dialogue still has to make grammatical sense within the sentence (unless you’re all experimental, in which case you should still listen to me, because you have to know the rules in order to break them), so add the commas in the pauses between the character’s speech and the narrative. That sounds complicated but see example above: “‘Fuck off,’ said the copyeditor.”
2b. When you’re quoting within a quote, and again, you aren’t British, you use single quotes to signify the quoted material inside the quote.
3. If you are quoting someone else in a non-dialogue setting, many of the same rules apply. However, you are less likely to have terminal punctuation (period, exclamation point, question mark) inside the quotes. If you need a comma after the quote, it is always OK to add it inside the quotes, even if it is not part of the quoted material. A period can go inside the quotes. However if you’re inserting a semi colon it goes outside the quotes. I can’t really tell you why. (Pauses to look it up. Ha! Even Chicago admits that it doesn’t make a ton of sense.)
Why did she shout “Fire!” when there was no fire?
When you say,” I don’t think you used the word ‘appall’ correctly,” you’d best smile and be prepared to back yourself up.
The dentist said “this will only hurt a little”; I will never listen to her again.
Does that answer all your questions?
3a. addendum. A question mark goes outside the quote if it is not part of the quotation. Did she really yell “death to all copyeditors”? Or, really, I do this daily and it goes something like: OK to change “sweethearts of the rodoe” to “sweethearts of the rodeo”?