Tag Archives: dialogue

He Said, She Said: Why Tags Matter When Writing Dialogue

glenniswritingabc blogs

He Said, She Said: Why Tags Matter When Writing Dialogue
Hello writing friends,

one of my my able assistants is the autocrit editing programme. Without it my writing struggles to keep the writing rules. According to editors and publishers there are right and wrong ways of writing. Especially, in our attempts to show rather than tell. As I have reworked my novel, with autocrit beside me, I observed my novel turn from one of a new writer to a more concise manuscript. Enjoy this autocrit blog on Writing Dialogue in a Novel. Glennis

Dialogue tags – words such as said, replied or asked – have magical powers.

Why are they magical? Well, because they disappear. Readers unconsciously skip right over them.

And that’s what you want them to do!

When writing dialogue in a book, tags exist for only one purpose: to identify who is speaking. That’s it. You want…

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Don’t Always Believe What You Read Online

Luanne Castle's Writer Site

When I started writing creative nonfiction/memoir, the issue of dialogue tags rose its nasty little head early on. I’d never given them much thought in fiction writing, and they don’t exist in poetry. For some reason, nonfiction made me think and rethink what works best. Maybe it’s that more expressive word choices conveyed more information than plain old “said,” but in nonfiction it seemed like overkill to write “stammered” or “giggled” about oneself.

These “more expressive” tags look something like this:

Eventually I took courses online and learned that all the creative and imaginative tags I’d debated were worthless. I think these teachers were right, so I’m sharing what I learned from them.

The idea is to stay as far from “tagging” as possible.

That means that if you can write dialogue where it’s clear who is speaking each line, you don’t need any tags at all. Sometimes you can start…

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Agent perspective: What’s wrong with your manuscript

Carly Watters, Literary Agent Blog

googleimages2Pitching your book to no avail?

Are agents not being forthcoming with advice?

Getting ready to submit in the new year?

The definitive guide to what’s wrong with most manuscripts:

1. All internal conflict, no external conflict. Does more happen in the character’s head than in the plot? This is going to be a problem whether it’s literary or commercial fiction. Make sure enough things happen.

2. Pace. The most important thing to get an agent’s attention is to keep us turning the pages and stop us from doing other things. The moment things lag, you’ve lost us.

3. Voice. This one’s more subjective, but the way to check if your book has voice is whether we can tell the difference between whose head we’re in or who is speaking at any given time. Everything about your writing style needs personality. What makes your book special? Your voice. It’s how…

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Dialogue tips: the fastest way to improve any manuscript

onewildword

In this 30-minute video below, author Joanna Penn interviews author and writing teacher James Scott Bell about his book on dialogue, “How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: The Fastest Way to Improve Any Manuscript.”

Bell gives some great tips to make your dialogue sing and catch the eye of an agent, publisher and reader:

  1. Characters shouldn’t be feeding each other information they already know. Example: Brother to sister: “Look sis, our mom, Linda who is a school teacher is home.”
  2. Don’t hide exposition or backstory in dialogue. Readers are savvy, will pick up on it, and won’t be happy. Bell says if you must convey the information, try turning the exchange into a confrontation. More information tends to be exchanged when people are confrontational.
  3. How do you differentiate dialogue between characters? Bell suggests keeping a voice journal for each main character. For more on this, see my earlier post, “Use a…

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Speech Tags in Writing

Quoth The Wordsmith

Speech Tags in WritingWe’re all familiar with speech tags. While we may not always notice them when reading, they can become somewhat of a pain when writing. To balance the amount of them, to insert appropriate adjectives and verbs, to ensure that they reduce confusion instead of enhancing it—these are all things that writers face.

Speech tags may seem like a small thing when compared to the rest of the manuscript, which includes world building, character creation, adequate structure, and all the rest, but they can play an important role in the success, or failure, or a story.

The most common are “he said”, and “she said”, and “he replied”, and “she replied” are a close second. But when you are writing a long and complicated dialogue session, these become irritating, dull, and even redundant. Therefore, how do you improve the readability while making sure that the reader knows who is speaking?

Pay…

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