From the beginning I’ve read that said/asked were invisible. It never occurred to me to worry about it when tagging dialogue. But some editors do care if they read said/asked a dozen times in a row. Who’d of thunk it?
I recently got back my manuscript of White Light and guess what. My line editor didn’t like all the says/asks and suggested that I get rid of most of them. The rule seemed to be one of either per page (250 words.)
Reinforcing the rules:
- Use specific + active verb to express exactly what you mean
- Avoid being repetitive—phases and words
- Remove all unnecessary words
It took a bit of work, but here’s how I did it.
“Thanks,”.” I say, my voice let out a breath full of relief.
“Oh, you are a rogue.” Mrs. Perkins blushes batting her eyes as they release hands.
“That’s me. Lock up your virgins,”.” he says.
I wait for it and Mrs. Perkins doesn’t disappoint.
“Well, I guess Emma isn’t in any danger then.” She giggles, intending her comment to be funny.
Cane lady, Jay, sayspipes up, “I’ll call then. You’re still using Alice’s number, aren’t you?”
So that’s it. My three solutions to repetitive dialogue tags. Hope it helps you as much as it helped me.
What do you do to keep it clean?