Monday, August 1, 2011

Are You Passionate About Your Dialogue Tags? by Linda S. Glaz

Okay, I posted information on a great article about dialogue tags by
Gail Gaymer Martin on my blog this week. Ooh, yeah. I got some interesting
emails about the topic. And that’s when I realized folks are mighty
passionate about their tags.

In romance novels, I can’t tell you how many times he snarled,
he growled, she purred.
Did she curl into his arms and actually purr?
My love life must be missing something.
Whew, but I do have to admit, some folks can get downright
snarky about people interfering with their dialogue tags.

Current thinking is that said and asked are more than enough IF
you use tags at all. Gaining favor are the action or emotional tags
that make very clear who is speaking without the old worn out
he said/she said. And lest anyone get upset with me, let me say,
I do understand. I have a favorite I love to use, and that would be,
he whispered. BUT! Wouldn’t there be more impact if I wrote:
His words fell as a soft tickle against her ear?
Instead of, he whispered.

We can give the reader a lot more if we simply remove some of those
tired old tags. I know, I know. Dialogue tags are the way it’s always
been done. I agree. But change is good. Go on now. Make it your new mantra.
Don’t be afraid, just say it.
Change is good.
Change is good.
You really can teach an old dog new tricks. YES!

Here you go: swing by Gail’s site and let me know what you think. By the way, Gail is a multi-multi-pubbed fiction author who also has written numerous highly acclaimed books on how to write, including, Writing the Christian Romance.


Deborah Dee Harper said...


Although I try hard (lately, at least) to eliminate as many tags as I can, when I DO have to use them, I try to restrict myself to "said." I figure if there's a question mark at the end of a sentence, I don't need to put "asked." I agree with you and Gail that the great majority of dialogue tags are unnecessary (if not downright silly.) That was a great post by Gail, by the way--thanks for mentioning it.


Terri Tiffany said...

Oh I had to go back and find all my whispereds--had a few--but gone now! Thanks!