Tired of Using the Same ‘Ole Dialogue Tag?

If you are tired of using the word ‘said’ as a dialogue tag then scroll down and try a few of these but first…

Like anything else in writing don’t overdo tags in general. If there are only two people in a conversation the use of tags is limited. If more people, elves, aliens or talking horses join in you’ll have to use more dialogue tags.

Remember to add other details from the POV (point of view) character experience too to avoid ‘Talking Head Syndrome.’ For those of you are not sure what THS looks like below is an example

“Hey, Joe, where’s the coffee pot?”

“Your guess is as good as mine,” he said.

“You used it last. Why don’t you ever put things back where they belong?” She said.

Okay, so tell me about the characters. Where are they? Who are they? What do they look like? What are they doing? What are they smelling, seeing, feeling, hearing, touching? That’s what is meant by ‘Talking Head Syndrom.’

Now let’s use the same dialogue using Joe as the POV character.

“Hey, Joe, where’s the coffee pot?”

“Hey, Joe, where’s the coffee pot?”

“Your guess is as good as mine,” he answered not really listening. Peggy is always misplacing things. I’m sure she’ll find it without my help.

‘You used it last.” she spat out a curse before seating herself next to him on the living room couch. “Why don’t you ever put things back where they belong?” Peggy shoved at his shoulder.

See, now you get more of a picture of what’s going on.

While I don’t personally have experience with or endorse this site, I do like this chart

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