Creating Tone through Dialogue

8 thoughts on “Creating Tone through Dialogue

  1. You can avoid any dialogue tag by doing an action followed (or preceded) by a statement. For example: “I hate this stuff!” He hurled the plate at the wall. OR: She stared at him. “You bought a boat?” A good practice might be to mix things up — use “said” most of the time, no tags at all when that works, and a few carefully-chosen colourful tags peppered in here and there.

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  2. I also say this flouts convention. ‘Said’ is an invisible word. It is those ‘alternatives’ that are to be avoided. The occasional ‘replied’ in response to a question is okay, or an ‘asked’ following a question, even the odd ‘shout’ (which surprisingly isn’t listed), but most of the others simply aren’t speech tags and their use will not impress editors and agents.

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  3. This flies in the face of other articles I’ve read telling the reader NOT to use verbs other than said, replied, asked. Maybe commented. My editor has axed some of my attempts to use more colorful verbs for speech. Drat. What to do?

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