Tag, You’re It: How to #Write Spectacular #Dialogue Using This #Trend

Dialogue is a way for characters to react and communicate in a story.  It can also be a method to move a story along by adding action rather than paragraph after paragraph of details.  Placing tags before or after the quoted text reveals who is saying what – like “he said” or “she replied”.  Seems cut and dry, right? With emphasis on the dry, these tags don’t give the dialogue much pizazz.

According to Whitney Hemsath, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.  Her delightful post sheds light on a trend that can take a writer’s dialogue from ok to spectacular. Read below.

Photo: Morgue file (diannehope)

Whitney Hemsath

In writing, there are trends. Some people like the trends, others don’t, but knowing the trends and what following them (or not) says about you as a writer can make the difference between getting traditionally published or not.
 
One trend is in regards to dialogue tags. There used to be a time when people wanted variety, not just “he said” and “she said.” So more authors would use phrases like “she questioned” “he commanded” “she responded” “he replied” “she barked” “he stated”. However, these days professionals look at all those words as signs of amateur writing. The current trend is to only use “said” and “asked” (and maybe an occasional “whisper” or “shout” if the volume they are using is important to note and is otherwise unclear from context.)
 
The reasoning behind this is that words like “said” and “asked” become invisible to a reader. They are merely…

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#A-Z Challenge: D is for Dialogue

Good point about listening to the conversations around you. Thanks for sharing the tips.

Alison Williams Writing

For the A-Z challenge, I am posting writing and editing tips to help you improve and enhance your writing.

D is for Dialogue

dialogue

Getting dialogue right is hugely important. Dialogue drives plot forward, enhances character development, and reveals emotion and motivation.

So how do you write effective dialogue?

  • Be nosy. Listen in to other people’s conversations and make a note of how they speak. You’ll notice elements like contractions (hasn’t, didn’t etc.), figures of speech and turn-taking that occur in natural speech.
  • Read your dialogue out loud. This really helps to make sure that it sounds natural rather than forced and contrived.
  • Don’t be too natural though! Your reader doesn’t want to hear all the repetitions and pauses that go along with actual speech. Cut these bits out and get rid of anything that doesn’t add to the plot.
  • Don’t use a variety of dialogue tags. ‘Chuckled’, ‘proclaimed’, ‘bellowed’ etc…

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Writing Tips from Jodie Renner

I love Jodie’s advice.  Especially items 1 and 2 about staying in character and out of your own head when writing.  When I look back at some of the things I’ve written here, I can clearly see the difference between times when I felt, thought and experienced the story as the character as opposed to just writing about what I thought the character would feel or think.

She also has good points on pepping up story dialogue.