So today I am also at Burrowers, Books & Balderdash, reviewing some dozen or so books I've never read (as it's Delusional Thursday and all), so I'd love you to come by THERE for some reading recommendations!
So there is a point of confusion I have, and I thought maybe we should talk about it. We ALL know Adverbs are evil, ne? We carefully perform an Adverbectomy on our very first rewrite... adverbs are TELL, not SHOW. Got it. That isn't the part that confuses me.
What confuses me is MANY agents and publishers say that for dialog tags, they ONLY use said or asked. I've read several blogs to this effect—I swear I'm not making it up. And I want to know
I thought maybe I'd review a list of synonyms of 'said' and we could talk about what the heck is so wrong with them, because I don't get it.
Synonyms when I looked it up: Added, continued, stated, announced, asserted, commented, declared, observed, remarked, reported.
Okay, I take it back. For THESE, I get why we stick to said. These mostly seem like they are trying too hard, but what about:
Whispered: This is a word that gives an indication of mood, tone... it is a pretty darned descriptive verb.
Shouted: I suppose in some situations, I suppose an exclamation point will suffice, but when a name needs to be paired, the 'said' is just STUPID when shouting is meant.
Muttered (I have characters in EVERY book who want to mutter!) What the heck is WRONG with muttering! It is a personality indicator!
Oh, now HERE is a nice list... from a CLASSROOM, no less! Teachers teach kids to VARY their words. Why the heck are writers not supposed to?
And NOW, A Delusional Thursday twist, because, THAT is what I do... Some dialog with my FAVORITE of the verbs on the list.
The Colonization of Spankmenow
For the uninitiated, Planet Spankmenow is a rather pleasant place, filled with Cabana boys, fruity rum drinks, and lots and lots of laughter (founded by the spaz, to be introduced soon). One arrives there by traversing the portal, otherwise known as 'the veil at the dais, in the Deathroom in the Ministry of Magic—this is a Harry Potter reference, people. And YES, you heard me. Sirius Black LIVES. And we have him in handcuffs. But I digress.
“Tail!” The cat hissed.
“Couldn't help myself,” the Spaz teased.
“You're old enough to be my mother!” the cat spat.
“Who isn't?” the Tart quipped.
“I'm not,” the Giraffe dared.
“Me neither,” the Queen sassed.
“You catching this?” the Spaz telepathically transmitted.
The Tart nodded and the two speculated the punishments of the wee ones non-verbally.
“Spare the Queen; she made our lovely outfits,” the Spaz pleaded.
“Sorry,” the Cat-Newt whimpered.
“Did you know we can climb walls like this!?” the Giraffe-Newt marveled.
“I have some really juicy gossip on the Tart if you change me back, Spaz,” the Queen tempted.
“Well...” speculated the Spaz.
“Okay, Sketchie,” the Tart reasoned with the Spaz, “Do you REMEMBER a certain Cowboy, Rockets lost weekend circa 2006?”
“Nup. Not bargaining!” the Spaz admitted.
“Next time, kitty, Ix-nay on the other-may with your oddesses-gay... erm... or something like that...” the Tart angled-may.
So there you have it. Did you MISS 'said'? Can't it be more fun without?