Specific Dialogue Tags

So we talked about dialogue tags a while ago but we didn’t talk about specific dialogue tags. Dialogue tags are important as they explain not just the tone or emotion the character is using to speak but it can also show action and describe what they’re doing. Which is also important.

Specific dialogue tags | Creative writing | writing tips | RachelPoli.com

Is Said Dead?

No. Said is not dead. Everyone needs to leave poor said alone. Said may be a “bland” dialogue tag but sometimes it can work perfectly. We’re not always asking a question or shouting or cheering for any reason. We talk to each other calmly and have general, normal conversations – for the most part. In other words we’re speaking in statements. How do you describe a statement? We “said” it.

But how do we make said better? Well, we can make it better just like we can make any other dialogue tag sound better.

Add Detail.

Sure, there are plenty of times I’ve stood in the kitchen having a conversation with my mom and we’re not doing anything. We’re actually just standing and talking. But a lot of time, especially characters in a story, are doing something while they talk.

For example:

“How was everyone’s day?” Raph asked spreading butter on her corn on the cob.

“It was fine.” Chip said reaching her arm over Raph to grab the salt.

“You could have just asked for the salt.” Raph sighed.

“My day was good.” Chase piped up in a muffled tone, his mouth filled with food.

“Don’t talk with your mouth full.” Chip scolded her brother as she took a bite of her hamburger.

Chase swallowed, “You’re talking with your mouth full.”

Raph put her fork and knife down bowing her head. “Guys, please…”

Admittedly, not the best example, but hopefully you know what I’m trying to get at.

It never hurts to add a little extra to your dialogue tags depending on where your characters are and what they’re doing.

What are some other examples you can think of? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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6 Types Of Conversations Your Characters Can Have

Of course there are more than 6 types of conversations your characters can have, but this is just to name a few. Our characters speak all the time to each other and we don’t really think too much about what the conversation entails or how it may effect the readers.

6 types of conversations characters can have | dialogue tips | creative writing | RachelPoli.com

Hellos & Goodbyes

This conversation is pretty straightforward. It’s an introduction or a see you later kind of conversation. Sometimes it’s quick, sometimes not. Sometimes it’s easy to say hi and bye and other times it’s hard for the characters. It’s a generic conversation but this can go in many different ways.

General

General conversations can be natural little quips here and there. It can be something as simple as two characters commenting on the weather. This kind of conversation can shed some light on the characters themselves as well as the setting and maybe some slight plot information.

Backstory

This type of conversation can be used to showcase a character or two. Your readers can get to know them a little more as your characters try to get to know each other. This can also be important to the plot as the conversation can very well just be about the plot instead of themselves.

Agreement & Disagreement

No one gets along with others all the time. Arguments and bickers happen. It’s a little depth to the characters and to the plot, depending on what the argument is about. But there are also plenty of agreements to go around, especially if your characters are trying to come up with a plan to do something. They can come up with ideas together.

Complaining

I feel like I shouldn’t have to explain this one. We all complain and it usually gets on someone’s nerves. Or maybe that someone agrees with us and may be complaining right along side us. Characters have a lot to complain about, especially with the types of situations we writers put them through.

Reveal

Revealing something important or making a confession, your characters can have a sort of heart-to-heart. Unless it’s something pretty big then maybe an argument will break out. Who knows what’ll happen?

There are a lot of other types of conversations characters can have. Which ones did I miss? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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How Do You Write Internal Dialogue?

Internal dialogue can be more confusing than one would think. I don’t believe there’s a “right” way or “wrong” way to write internal dialogue, but I’ve seen plenty of people write it in different ways. I’ll admit, I have a preference, but that’s just my opinion.

How do you write internal dialogue | Creative Writing | Writing Tips | Dialogue tips | RachelPoli.com

There are different forms of internal dialogue – direct and indirect.

Direct Internal Dialogue

Direct refers to a character thinking to themselves in first person. This means these are thoughts they’re actually thinking, not thoughts we believe – or the narrator is telling us – they’re thinking. This can be written in two ways: using quotations or italics.

Using quotations makes it seem like the character is speaking aloud. It’s up to the dialogue tag to show that the character is actually thinking instead of speaking.

Using italics without quotations, but still using dialogue tags, makes it easy to differentiate between thoughts and speaking. Both are fine ways to write internal dialogue, but I prefer the italics. I find it easier to read and follow along.

Indirect Internal Dialogue

Similar to direct internal dialogue except it’s written in third person. This also means the narrator is telling us what a character is wondering, or may be wondering. So it’s not the exact thoughts from the character but we have an idea of what they may be thinking.

How do you typically write internal dialogue? Do you like using quotations or italics? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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All About Dialogue Tags

Dialogue tags are important and essential to use in every story we write. Are they always needed? No, but we do need them from time to time in order to know which characters are talking to each other or to themselves. So this post is all about dialogue tags.

All About Dialogue Tags | Creative Writing | Writing Tips | Writing Advice | RachelPoli.com

What is a dialogue tag?

A dialogue tag is a tag that goes before, in between, or after a piece of dialogue. It’s that little quip that says, “he said” or “Rachel cheered.”

How do you use dialogue tags?

Well, as I said they can go before or after the dialogue or in between it. Depending on where you put the tag, you need to make sure your punctuation is correct to go along with the dialogue. For example…

Rachel asked, “Where were you last night?”

“Why are you asking?” Chase replied.

“Well,” Rachel sighed, “you didn’t answer any of my phone calls.”

When do you use dialogue tags?

This is sort of like personal preference but also you need to read your manuscript and see what makes sense.

If there’s two characters speaking to each other and the banter is quick, one right after another, you can get away without using dialogue tags. Of course, use them in the beginning to make sure your readers know who is speaking.

“I didn’t know you were trying to call.” Chase said.

“Um, maybe you should check your phone then?” Rachel replied.

“What did you want, anyway?”

“It doesn’t matter now.”

If there’s a lot of detail and description in between the dialogue, a tag doesn’t hurt to remind your readers who’s speaking next. Also, if there are more than two characters speaking with one another, it’s a good idea to use tags so they knows who’s talking.

“What’s all the bickering about?” Chip asked.

“I think Chase is hiding something from me.” Rachel answered.

“It’s not just from you.” Chase replied.

“See?” Rachel exclaimed.

“Guys, please…” Chip sighed.

Overall, dialogue tags are a great way to convey the message to your readers about who is speaking and how they’re saying it. Though it’s not always needed and your readers can always infer based on what they already know.

Do you use dialogue tags a lot? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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The Best Tip To Know About Writing Dialogue

Writing dialogue can be such a hit or miss. It’s something you can improve in but I feel like some authors are really good at it and some just aren’t. So, here’s the best tip to know about writing dialogue – in my opinion.

The Best Tip To Know About Writing Dialogue | Creative Writing | Writing Tips | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Keep It Realistic

Dialogue can be such a hit or miss. It can take a little while to get it “right.” When I said right, I mean get it to sound realistic.

It’s easy to make your characters sound like robots. Unless they really are robots, you don’t want them sounding like that.

The main goal of the dialogue is to get your characters speaking as though they’re real people having a real conversation.

This is pretty simple as though you write as you or anyone else would normally speak. The hardest part, I think, is to ignore the editor. If you write in Word Document then you know the red squiggly lines come after you – when you try to have someone stammer or when you try to have someone speak unclearly. Word doesn’t like it.

I’ll admit, I’ve edited my dialogue based on Word for a while. Then I realized it just didn’t sound realistic and now I try my best to ignore Word. I mean, Word is right sometimes, but not when it comes to that.

Be sure to listen to how people talk. Hear how they pronounce their words, tones, emotions, and even accents. Treat your characters like real people and you should be good to go.

What do you think? Do you agree with me or do you have any other tips? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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How To Format Dialogue

Dialogue is how we as writers show our characters talking. It’s a fairly simple concept, but formatting it isn’t always easy or straightforward. So, here’s how to format dialogue.

How To Format Dialogue | Creative Writing | Writing Tips | RachelPoli.com

Quotation Marks

Yeah, this is a given. Most dialogue is enclosed with quotation marks at the beginning and at the end of your character’s words. I’ve seen some stories where people don’t use quotations at all. I’m not sure if that depends based on where you are in the world or if that’s just a personal format choice from the author.

Quote Within Dialogue

A quote within a dialogue, or a character quoting someone else, is showed with single quotation marks around it.

Punctuation

Punctuation is tricky. I’ve seen people add it on the outside of the quotations, but it’s supposed to go inside the quotations. The punctuation is part of the sentence and the quotations is just like a cover of the sentence, so it doesn’t make sense for the period or question mark to be on the outside.

Actions

If the character is performing some sort of action before or after the dialogue, it goes in a separate sentence. However, if the character is doing it during the dialogue, their action is separated from the dialogue with a comma. If there is an action interrupting or in the middle of the dialogue, the next part of the dialogue starts with a lowercase letter.

New Paragraphs

We all know a new paragraph is indented as is when a new character speaks. It’s a new paragraph and is indented. When a character is speaking so much and a new paragraph is needed in the middle of it, there is no ending quotation. The next paragraph begins with a quotation and ends with one as well. It’s a continuation.

This is all common sense to people who have been writing for a while. Yet, we still sometimes make mistakes and some things are not always clear. Dialogue seems so simple and yet, look at the “rules” that go along with it.

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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