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Dialogue tags continue to stump many writers, new and experienced.

I’m not sure why this is, maybe it’s because we as writers feel the overwhelming need to paint a detailed picture. We want the reader to not miss even for a second what we mean—right?

She said angrily. She yelled with the noise of thunder. He howled like a wolf. –these are not needed.

My rule of thumb is when in doubt use SAID.

***The way a character speaks is so uniquely them that it should be obvious who is speaking but sometimes it’s not, so fine–use he said, she said, they said..

Don’t over think it.

In preparing for this blog, I found this article that does a great job of further explaining what I mean.

I have posted the link below. I hope you like it and I hope that it helps!


An exercise: tell your friend, spouse, neighbor, anyone a story about a conversation you had with someone else, do you ever overly describe the way they said it? HINT–you don’t. People don’t. Go do this and you’ll see what I mean.

If you do. If you are the type who uses adjectives to describe the way someone spoke–well that just might be YOU and the way you as a character speaks, but in books it pulls readers out. In screenplays and teleplays, it confuses the actors–or they will follow exactly instead of doing what comes naturally. I would say in scripts—NEVER qualify ever. Scripts don’t need tags.