Writing effective, compelling dialogue has multiple elements.

Writing effective, compelling dialogue has multiple elements.

Tags (like name tags) identify. A dialogue tag is band of words following quoted speech (e.g. ‘she said’), identifying who spoke and/or the way they spoke. Other words for ‘said’ can indicate:

  • Volume (e.g. yelled, shouted, bellowed, screamed, whispered)
  • Pitch or tone(e.g. shrieked, groaned, squeaked)
  • Emotion (e.g. grumbled, snapped, sneered, begged)

The relation between these aspects of voice are also important. It will be strange, as an example, for a character to ‘sneer’ the text since the word ‘sneer’ connotes contempt which is contrary to love‘ I love you.

Given that you will find countless verbs that will take the place of ‘said,’ in the event you simply find a stronger, more emotive one and make use of that?

Not necessarily. Below are a few strategies for using dialogue tags such as said and its substitutes well:

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