Dun Writin’—Now Whut? A series by Susan Uttendorfsky – Owner of Adirondack Editing – (06 He Said-She Said Tags)


Shared from Chris Graham – The Story Reading Ape

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

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He Said / She Said: Dialogue Tags

Can you pass the salt?” Richard asked.

Like hell,” Katherine muttered.

Did you say something, sweetie?” Richard continued.

I will not pass you the salt!” Katherine shouted.

And on we go, another happy marriage on the rocks. So, what’s wrong with this exchange? It’s a combination of several things, but we’re going to focus on one: dialogue tags.

In Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Renni Browne and Dave King start their chapter on dialogue mechanics by quoting a New York Times reviewer discussing a book by Mr. Robert Ludlum:

Characters in The Bourne Ultimatum seldom “say” anything. Instead, they cry, interject, interrupt, muse, state, counter, conclude, mumble, whisper … intone, roar, exclaim, fume, explode, mutter.

Using words such as “roared” or “muttered” convey emotion and character, true. But I’m sorry to say, it’s taking the easy way out. Using…

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About Ethel Lewis

Born in Dallas, Texas in 1948 "Texan born and Texan bred." Currently live in Galveston, Texas. I share my home with my four friends and companions---all of which have four legs and very furry bodies. Two cats, two dogs. What's that old expression? "Jack of all trades, master of none." That pretty well describes me. Earned a living grooming dogs and cats for thirty years, drove an eighteen-wheeler for nearly ten years. Raised two wonderful children, a son and a daughter--both now grown, have 5 grand-kids, and 2 great-grand-kids. Love 'em all. I recently retired, and am excited to finally find the time to do what I enjoy doing most - Writing the stories and telling the tales, born in my imagination...
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