Edits By Knight

Using Descriptive Dialogue Tags

     So you’ve got the basics of dialogue tags down: You’ve reined in your urge to write “he said, she said” every other line, given your characters unique voices and speech patterns, and you’ve learned how to use action beats effectively. However, you’ve gotten to a special scene, and the basic dialogue tags just aren’t cutting it.

     When you want to add that special something to your characters’ conversations, a descriptive tag might be just the thing to do it. You have to be careful, though; finesse is vital to keeping your readers immersed in the plot.

Choose Your Words Carefully

     The main advantage of descriptive tags is that they allow you to avoid using adverbs. Words like softly, loudly, and playfully can be left out altogether when you use an appropriate tag, because you’ve already conveyed what the adverb describes:

  • said softly = murmured/whispered
  • said loudly = shouted/yelled
  • said playfully = quipped/teased

     Keep in mind, too, that you have to make sure the connotation of a word matches what’s being said. “Confessed” and “admitted” imply that the character is revealing something they would rather not, such as something they are ashamed of, whereas “declare” and “state” carry connotations of blunt and/or direct remarks to which the character does not necessarily expect a response.

     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.