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.
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.
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.
“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.