Writing Lies Part 7

writinglies

“Said is Dead”

People are going to disagree on this one with me. I just know it.

Honestly though? I’m okay with that. This is a personal preference and, for the record, that is a part of my point.

Whoever said that Said is Dead? You know, the whole scenario where you use it as a part of your dialogue tag . . . example below.

“How dare you?” James said with disdain coloring his voice.

One of the main arguments against this is that it gets old after awhile. Which, I agree. If you are constantly and forever using “he said” “she said”, then yes. But variety is the spice of live and nixing said completely makes for a difficult read.

Ever been in the middle of a book and there is so much back and forth dialogue with absolutely no tags, or if there are tags, they are extremely minimal and void of information? If you are anything like me, you feel a bit like someone with a game of ping pong going on inside their head. Who on earth is talking? What’s going on while they are talking? How are they saying it? What emotion is behind the words? What does their body language look like?

Honestly, not using tags really draws me out of a story since it creates a total lack of emotion behind the words the characters are saying.

You can totally spice them up too! Add some depth to that ‘said’! Add some emotion! Add some pizzazz!

In conclusion. . . I am far from thinking that said is dead. Used with creativity, it can be one of the most useful implements on a writer’s tool-belt.

What do you think about the use of ‘said’?

By God’s grace,

Victoria

5 thoughts on “Writing Lies Part 7

  1. I’m a fence straddler on this one. I really don’t like said, but I do use it. I prefer more description or else I lose interest. I also like when an author uses action rather than dialogue tags. Like, “I’m not talking back!” Jimmy stomped his foot, crossing his arms.
    Amy smirked and raised an eyebrow. “Really?”

    Idk, that’s just me, haha! I can see both points.

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  2. I think whoever said, “Said is Dead” was probably trying to encourage people to use strong action beats and took it a little too far. :p Like anything else in writing, (and like you said) said can be overused and isn’t *always* needed, but it’s certainly not something that needs to be avoided at all costs, either. Action beats can get overused too, if one is not careful. Sometimes people say stuff without necessarily doing something at the same time. Sometimes you just plain need to clarify who’s speaking. As far as I can remember, I’ve yet to read a book that never used “said” during the course of the entire story.

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  3. Half and half people. ‘Variety is the spice of life’ means you need a little bit of it all. Said. Strong verbs Action tags. No tags at all 🙂

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  4. I’m in the both camp. 😉 I understand practicing a short story without using “said” so that you get more comfortable using other tags, but then again, I’ve written a short story that only using “said” to practice emotions another way. 🙂

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