Writing Craft CUT THE ‘SAID’, SHE SAID by Rayne Hall


Dialogue tags (he said, she asked, he replied) can help the reader understand who’s talking. But when it’s clear who’s talking, you can cut the tag.  This makes your writing tighter and the pacing faster.

 

If the speaker is doing something, the action is enough to attribute the dialogue. Simply put the speech in the same paragraph as the action.

 

The dialogue scene will become more exciting to read. Good dialogue needs very few

Rayne Hall

Rayne Hall

tags.

 

Here are some examples before and after a said-free diet:

 

Obese

He drew his gun and said: “Prepare to die.”

Slim

He drew his gun. “Prepare to die.”

 

Obese

Grabbing her arm, he asked: “Where are you going?”

“To the police,” she replied.

Slim

He grabbed her arm. “Where are you going?”

“To the police.”

 

Obese

Shrugging his shoulders, he said, “I don’t know.”

Slim

He shrugged. “I don’t know.”

 

Obese

“Bastard!” he shouted, slamming his fist on the table.

Slim

He slammed his fist on the table. “Bastard!”

 

Obese

She fidgeted with her necklace. “I didn’t see him,” she said.

Slim

She fidgeted with her necklace. “I didn’t see him.”

 

I recommend that you kill most speech tags. Keep only the ones needed for clarity.

 

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One thought on “Writing Craft CUT THE ‘SAID’, SHE SAID by Rayne Hall

  1. Me likes it. . . lol. In a serious note, pretty good, although notice that in children’s books there are still the much needed ‘he said’ ‘she said’ tags so children can identify the speaker.

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