Posted in Dialogue

Tag Lines

In a story in order to determine who is speaking a piece of dialogue, tag lines are used. Notice in the following example the last two lines don’t have a tag line. That’s because one is not always needed once it’s been established who is talking. Generally, a person will do the speaking every other line. So, in this example, it is assumed that Tia is then doing the speaking in line 3 and Sarah is doing the speaking in line 4. If a tag line is added every time someone speaks, the flow of the dialogue sounds odd. BUT, every now and then, throw in a tag line so that readers can keep track of who is speaking. There’s nothing more irritating than having to go back through a long piece of dialogue in order to keep track of who is doing the speaking.

Example: “I don’t like it one bit. It won’t work,” said Tia.
“Sure it will,” replied Sarah. “Trust me.”
“That’s the problem. None of your ideas ever work.”
“They do too.”

Please keep in mind that you don’t always have to use the word ‘said’ when creating a tag line. Here are some options in the list below. There are many many more than what is here. This is just a taste.

  • replied Tia
  • responded Tia
  • stated Tia
  • whispered Tia
  • answered Tia
  • demanded Jack
  • claimed Susan
  • asked Bill
  • agreed Susan
  • added Susan
  • admitted Jack
  • fumed Bill
  • feared Sally
  • giggled Jane
  • indicated Jack
  • joked Tia
  • decided Tia
Posted in Writing

The Pushoff

Photo by James Wheeler on

That moment before you start. Your mind is filled with so many thoughts. How do I begin? I know what I want to say; but how to write it in such a way that hooks the reader? Will what you write be good? Will it hook the reader? Will it inspire them? Will my beginning be as good as the beginning of my last book/story? What if I “sink”? What if it “takes off”? Yes, I can do this.

It’s all so thrilling isn’t it? You may have written many books/stories before and still have these questions going through your mind before you start. You want to make your readers happy, and you want them to have fun. Not to sound pessimistic, but we can’t please everyone. Many will enjoy your stories/books and many won’t. So, relax. Have fun. Don’t stress yourself out. The truth of it is, you have what I call “Your Circle”. These are the people who you trust to give you an honest critique of your writing before you publish your work. If your beginning, middle or end or anything in between doesn’t sound right, they will tell you. Listen to what they’re saying, take it into consideration, and go from there. If you’re new to the writing craft, your self-confidence may need to be built up more. If you are more experienced, you may have more confidence and so on.

Trust yourself. Based on your writing experiences you will come to know what is good and what needs to be scrapped. So…..DIVE IN. Enjoy.