Friday, July 30, 2010

Which Tag to Use

Photo by Martha Ramirez
I haven't forgotten about you guys--not at all! I've just been buried in revisions and a long list of other things. Story of a writer's life:)
Charli Mac...this one's for you:)
Instead of using dialogue tags, how about showing readers what is happening instead?
Let's try to replace some dialogue tags with action tags. 
For instance rather than telling the reader "she barked" how about using a visual instead? 
Aka action tag. i.e Her nostrils flared and her eyebrows drew together. OR she threw the glass at the door.
Show some character. 
And please, PLEASE try to avoid using adverbs in dialogue tags. Often times you will just be repeating exactly what you showed in between the quotes.
Again instead of saying "angrily" how about showing what that person looked like. One of my absolute fave sites that I use EVERY day is THE BOOKSHELF MUSE. Angela does a superb job at listing endless ways of how to show readers what emotion and visuals can do.
Also, here is an excellent post on How to Avoid Creative Dialogue Tag Syndrome
Another awesome post I recommend reading is at Writing world:
And last, but not least HERE is a AWESOME site on everything about writing. Hundreds of useful articles sure to help every writer through their journey.
(Shout out to my wonderful cp, Mika Temple for urging me to share the link with you on my blog.)
Usually, when writing dialogue tags, the best and easiest words to use is "said." It may sound boring, but they say eyes skim these words allowing readers to flow with the story and not stalling.
How about you, any tips that has helped you with writing tags?
Happy writing everyone!!


Susanne Drazic said...

Hi Martha. You always find and share such interesting links. Don't know how you find the time to do it, but thank you!

Martha Ramirez said...

Thank you, Susanne!!

Ambrielle said...

Nice reminders and tips, Martha. Thanks!

Mika said...

I'm your extra eyeballs because the tidbits you throw out, I gobble up! I never cease learning a little something in every conversation with you, Mart. Happy to read your blogs, happy to read your MS, damn happy to call you friend!

Martha Ramirez said...

Thank you, Bri and Mika!!!!

Margaret Fieland said...

Mart, thanks for this. I'm in the process of going through my work in progress to replace dialog tags with action tags.. thanks for the extremely timely links.