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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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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