Really good post, and re-blogged because I totally agree and I couldn’t put it better myself. I think every writer should read this, because it’s one of the biggest pitfalls of inexperienced writers – and I have to say a few published ones I’ve come across too. I completely agree that balance is key, but the bias should be towards the humble ‘said/says’ precisely because – as you say – the tag is there to point towards the dialogue, not itself. There are exceptions of course. The other thing that grates with me is the completely unnecessary tag – e.g. ‘I’m sorry you’re upset,’ he commiserated. That’s not necessary because it’s obvious from the text that he’s commiserating.
Writers use dialogue tags constantly. In fact, we use them so often that readers all but gloss over them. They should be invisible. However, there are ways to misuse them and make them stand out.
In an effort to avoid that, let’s take a closer look at dialogue tags. Toward the end of “Tag travesties” is something I sorely wish someone had told me before I started writing.
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