Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “Do you use said or asked after a ? (quotation mark) or tag your interruptions? Any punctuation that bugs you? What’s the hardest for you to get right?”
What a coincidence this topic should come up now. I recently read Crafting Dynamic Dialogue, edited by Cheryl St. John, which I reviewed here. In this book, several fiction authors provide great advice on writing dialogue, some of which I already put into practice.
First of all, I try not to use elaborate dialogue tags such as “he announced” or “she proclaimed.” These distract the reader from what’s being said. It’s better to stick with “said,” “answered,” or asked” and let dialogue speak for itself. Unless there may be some confusion as to who is speaking, I don’t tag interruptions because that disrupts the story’s flow.
That having been said, there are times when it’s better to use a stronger verb than an adverb in dialogue tags. For example, instead of “I hate you!” my teenaged daughter said loudly before dashing upstairs and slamming the door to her room, I would write “I hate you!” my teenaged daughter yelled before dashing upstairs and slamming the door to her room.
I don’t have trouble with punctuation. So, let me share one more thing I’ve learned about dialog tags. It’s more natural to place the person’s name or a pronoun before the verb. Take this passage from The Red Dress.
“Oh, look at this!” said Charlene.
I should have written this.
“Oh, look at this!” Charlene said.
I’m not about to republish my novels just so I can correct dialogue tags. But I plan to incorporate tips I’ve learned in my future work.
How about you? Do you like elaborate dialogue tags, or, like me, do you think they’re unnecessary? How do you feel about the use of adverbs and the placement of names or pronouns and verbs in dialog tags? I look forward to reading your answers in the comment field. If you’re a blogger and would like to participate in this week’s hop, click here.
By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.
New! The Red Dress
Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books
When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.
Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.