Currently, I’m reading this really awesome book and I noticed something. What, you may ask? Well, not only is it a fantastic read with sharp wit and a kick-ass story, but the author rarely uses dialogue tags.
I know. I was shocked, too!
The pages are not littered with “he said” and “she said.” Instead, there is action interspersed with dialogue. And not just any action (“he turned toward her”) but action that moves the story along and keeps the reader engaged.
I started thinking about this with my own writing and I wondered if I could do it. I went back to my current WIP and started looking at all the dialogue tags and noticing lots and lots of them. I was instantly annoyed with my own work. So I got the virtual red pen out and started slashing up those dialogue tags.
What I have now, I think, it something much tighter. Something that moves along the story and shows who the characters really are and what they’re thinking/feeling/doing.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with “he said”. I think they’re necessary every now and again. But when you have them en masse, it gets, well, boring. It doesn’t keep the reader engaged in the story. It doesn’t show who your characters are.
Do you have lots of he saids? What can you do to change it and make the writing more active? And no, “he shouted” doesn’t count. 😉