Within the realm of writing, a battle of wits is now being fought. When it comes to writing an excellent dialogue tag, some people believe that all you need to say is “he said” or “she said.” They contend that since the word “said” is not shown to the reader, it does not break the rhythm of the spoken phrase.
On the other hand, there is a rising resistance to this regulation that just cannot be ignored. To demonstrate this, I would want you to put into any search engine the term “300 Ways to Say Said.” My search on Google returned more than 15 million items in a little under half a second’s time.
Does it imply that it is inappropriate to use the “he said/she said” construction? No, but let me ask you this: at the beginning of each chapter, do you always use the same word? Do you consistently place an explanation mark at the end of each and every phrase that demonstrates action? It’s not that the rule is incorrect; the problem is that it doesn’t cover all the bases.
Have you ever come across the proverb that states, “Money is the source of all evil”? I’m not here to dispute the philosophical underpinnings of other religions, but there’s a saying that goes, “The love of money is the source of all evil.”
I would like to state that “he said/she said is a fantastic beginning conversation tag” rather than “he said/she said is the only dialogue tag you will ever need.” A conversation tag is a brief remark that might come before, after, or even in the middle of the discourse that is taking place. Although the majority of people use it to indicate to the reader who is speaking, this is not the only possible purpose for it.
It is not the purpose of dialogue to aggravate the reader; rather, it is to generate action and advance the plot. While it might be annoying to continually use the same word, it can be even more unpleasant to use an entirely new phrase each and every time. To put it another way, if you have a list titled “300 Methods to Say Said,” make sure you don’t utilize all 300 of those ways in the same narrative.
When a writer builds a scene, he writes about what he sees, but when he writes dialogue, he writes about what he hears; hence, we often use terms like “softly, loudly, or silently.” The majority of adverbs suffer from the issue that they convey more information than they demonstrate.
My all-time favorite Stephen King quote is, “I think the path to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will scream it from the rooftops,” and it goes like this: “I will shout it from the rooftops.” They are comparable to dandelion flowers, to put it another way. It adds a special and distinctive touch to the appearance of your lawn if you have one.
Nevertheless, if you don’t pull it out by its roots, you’ll discover five more the following day, then fifty the day after that, and before you know it, my dear brothers and sisters, your lawn will be fully, utterly, and abundantly overrun with weeds.
Many authors are of the opinion that the use of adverbs, particularly those ending in “ly,” may often develop into a problematic situation. Some individuals attempt to get around the “no-adverb” rule by stuffing their verbs with expensive phrases like “she insinuated” or “he beguiled,” but the issue is that these expressions, like many others, do not demonstrate anything to the reader.
Using no tags at all is one strategy for avoiding unnecessary repetition of information.
He questioned, “Why are you so often late?”
She explained her absence by saying, “Because I have other, more essential things to accomplish.”
“So, you’re saying that I don’t have a life now?”
“No, I’m saying that you’re not the only one,” is what I mean to convey.
It has been brought to your attention that we did begin with “he said” or “she said,” but with just two characters conversing, there is no need to repeat it every time. Remember this comment from The Brady Bunch about how names are just numbers with a face? “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha.” Didn’t you find that phrase to be annoying after a short while?
You also have the option of using a conversation beat rather than a tag in your scene. A conversation beat is a slick method for breaking up lengthy passages of discourse by inserting additional facts.
Jason cast his gaze outside the window. “What’s the deal with your chronic tardiness?” He looked at the time on his watch for a third time.
She looked at herself in the vanity mirror and said, “Because…” “There are more vital things for me to accomplish right now.”
Now we’re beginning to get beyond words uttered by two individuals. Now it seems more like a tale than it did before. You don’t need me to tell you that Jason was impatient since the fact that he checked his watch for the third time shows you exactly what he was thinking.
It is not necessary to choose between using a tag and using a beat; you may use both at the same time. “What’s the deal with your chronic tardiness?” Jason had a question. He looked at the time on his watch for a third time. (beat). You are even allowed to use a word ending in “ly,” but you should be careful not to overuse them. Keep it lovely and distinctive, as Mr. King recommended.
The most important thing is that we should maintain the reader’s interest. When reading your conversation, if the thought “blah, blah, blah” keeps popping into your head, it’s probably time to split it up a little. It’s possible that you need to shift your emphasis from just stating who said what to displaying additional depth. It is possible to be innovative without filling pages with words worth $300 each, but you also don’t want to use the same phrases that are worth a cent and a dime.
It’s possible that fun may be had with an exciting narrative and an exotic environment, but the conversation is what really makes a tale work. As a writer, it is your responsibility to keep your audience interested enough to keep turning the pages, and the most effective method to achieve this is to have more intriguing conversations.