He said, she said. Tips for improving attribution

Qwerty Word Nerd

One of the trickiest elements of dialogue for some writers is attribution. That’s right, the old “He said, she said.”

Generally, problems occur because well-intentioned writers don’t want to lose the reader. They’ve been taught that attribution is key to ensuring that we know who said what, to whom, and how they sounded when they said it. Some writers believe attribution must convey emotion or the reader won’t know that Mary is screaming because she is upset, as opposed to whispering sweet nothings in her lover’s ear.

The problem is many of the tactics writers take to prevent these problems create entirely new issues in their writing. Let’s look at a few situations and consider possible solutions.

1. Problem: Using “said” is repetitious. How about we spice it up by replacing said with screamed, whispered, growled, snarled, snapped and whined?

Yep, “said” is repetitious. It’s also short, effective and generally…

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