A bit over a month ago, we covered the basics of dialogue formatting. As I mentioned in that post, one of the main things we need to accomplish when formatting our story’s dialogue is ensure we’ve clearly attributed who said what.
The first method we explored was dialogue tags (sometimes called dialogue cues). Dialogue tags not only let readers know which character said the quote but also share tone of voice and other cues for how the words were spoken (such as she whispered).
However, as we noted in that post, dialogue tags are somewhat limiting for what they can add to our writing or for avoiding repetition. After all, while said is often considered “invisible,” there’s a limit to how invisible it can be if it’s repeated every other sentence. *smile*
That’s why, as I mentioned in the post, I prefer using action beats for dialogue attribution whenever appropriate. Action beats are more flexible for our writing, adding details to our story and immersing readers in the scene. Let’s take a look…