Edits By Knight

Should I Use a Dialogue Tag?

    The decision of whether to include dialogue tags in your characters’ conversations is a tough one. As always, most of this will depend on your personal preference and style, but there are certain guidelines that can help you choose whether you need one or not—and where.

     Obviously, you don’t have to worry about who’s saying what when you’re having a conversation in real life; you’re there. Even if you can’t see the person you’re talking to, specific cues can clue you in: the timbre of their voice, their grammar and word choice, their accent. Similarly, your characters should each have a unique speech pattern that can help your readers identify the speaker.

     Here’s the problem: If you don’t use enough tags, readers will lose track of who’s saying what, no matter how unique their voice is; however, when you use too many tags, it can be extremely distracting.  Ideally, your tags will melt into your readers subconscious without them even knowing it.

To Tag or Not to Tag

    You may have heard people advise against using dialogue tags at all, or only to include basic tags, such as “said”; however, while it is true that less is more when it comes to tags, they can add richness and depth to your story, so consider your decision to include—or omit—a tag carefully.

    That being said, you should NOT use a dialogue tag when the surrounding narrative/action already makes it clear which character is speaking. In fact, it’s often better to replace a dialogue tag with an action beat. These sentences contain bits of activity, and are used to convey body language, facial expressions, and gestures that accompany the dialogue, adding detail that will help your readers stay immersed in the scene.

     Be sure to check out the rest of the basics of using dialogue tags, and visit visit my blog’s main page to find more tips and tricks for editors, writers, and freelancers!

Miko lives in North Alabama with their husband, Mark—two bright blue dots in a really red state. The pair have three cats, Henry, Louise, and Jefferson Twilight, and live the quiet and satisfying lives of two nerdy introverts. The work-from-home lifestyle is perfect for Miko, who was diagnosed with ADHD and autism in their late thirties.

     In their spare time, Miko enjoys gardening, playing the piano, singing, playing JRPGs, Tabletop gaming, and (of course) reading.

For more about me, visit my blog here.

Miko lives in North Alabama with their husband, Mark—two bright blue dots in a really red state. The pair have three cats, Henry, Louise, and Jefferson Twilight, and live the quiet and satisfying lives of two nerdy introverts. The work-from-home lifestyle is perfect for Miko, who was diagnosed with ADHD and autism in their late thirties.

     In their spare time, Miko enjoys gardening, playing the piano, singing, playing JRPGs, Tabletop gaming, and (of course) reading.

For more about me, visit my blog here.

     Be sure to check out the rest of the basics of using dialogue tags, and visit visit my blog’s main page to find more tips and tricks for editors, writers, and freelancers!

Miko lives in North Alabama with their husband, Mark—two bright blue dots in a really red state. The pair have three cats, Henry, Louise, and Jefferson Twilight, and live the quiet and satisfying lives of two nerdy introverts. The work-from-home lifestyle is perfect for Miko, who was diagnosed with ADHD and autism in their late thirties.

     In their spare time, Miko enjoys gardening, playing the piano, singing, playing JRPGs, Tabletop gaming, and (of course) reading.

For more about me, visit my blog here.

Miko lives in North Alabama with their husband, Mark—two bright blue dots in a really red state. The pair have three cats, Henry, Louise, and Jefferson Twilight, and live the quiet and satisfying lives of two nerdy introverts. The work-from-home lifestyle is perfect for Miko, who was diagnosed with ADHD and autism in their late thirties.

     In their spare time, Miko enjoys gardening, playing the piano, singing, playing JRPGs, Tabletop gaming, and (of course) reading.

For more about me, visit my blog here.