Last week, we looked at the importance of having a great speech tag and action tag balance. Today, we’ll discover four tips that will help us achieve that balance.
Use Vivid Speech Tags
Using vivid speech tags such as pant, wheeze, mutter, hiss, spit, screech, rattle, gag, etc. help paint a picture in our reader’s head. Like I discussed last week, they can show instead of being “telly.” Click here to read a bit more about that.
Use Action Tags That Contribute
I mean, why would you focus on your character chewing gum in the midst of a life or death situation? When writing dialogue, pick action tags that contribute to the overall mood and goal of the scene. Don’t focus on your character fiddling with a pen unless it means something to the scene, such as your character feeling idleness, nervousness, or agitation.
Throw In Some Monologue
Because I write in first person, I love throwing monologue into my dialogue. It gives the reader a deeper understanding of what the character is feeling by showing them what’s going on in the character’s head. Take, for example, the snippet below:
*whispers* Obviously, I’ve been reading The Language of Sparrows. =) But anyways, with Hailey’s monologue in the scene, her feelings deepened, and the scene grew even more serious than it would’ve been when void of monologue.
It’s Okay To Use Neither
All that said, it’s totally okay to use neither action tags nor speech tags, in instances such as arguments between characters or deep conversations, like Hailey and Jason’s. Let’s take a look at how that would pan out.
Sometimes, using neither speech tags or action tags make a scene more dramatic and OH MY GOODNESS DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?!?!?
Wow. This is the end to my first blog series on Notebooks and Novels. HAVE I REALLY ONLY BEEN WRITING ON HERE FOR A MONTH?!?! *calms down* I hope this series has helped you write some fabulous dialogue. Let’s talk about it in the comments section, shall we?