Happy Writing Wednesday, friends! Let’s talk about dialogue tags today. Dialogue tags are the “he said” and “she said” marks that follow lines of dialogue. There are right and wrong ways to go about dialogue tags. To make the right ways easy to remember, here’s a mnemonic:
- T = Track. While you should keep action tags to a minimum, you want to make sure your reader can track which character is speaking.
- A = Act. Whenever possible, use action to identify the character instead of a dialogue tag. Not only does this technique help readers track who is speaking, but it also paints a more vivid picture. Example:“I’d like to make a toast to all my fellow writers.” She lifted her glass, and the golden champagne swirled inside.
- G = Grow. Use pauses in dialogue as an opportunity to grow your characters while identifying who is speaking. Instead of a dialogue tag, describe the characters introspection at that moment–thoughts, feelings. But remember to show and not tell feelings.
- S = Simplify. Use simple, one-syllable tags, like “he said,” “she asked,” and “he yelled.” Don’t get fancy or your readers will focus on the tags instead of the dialogue.
I hope this post was helpful, and best of luck to you as you track, act, grow, and simplify your characters as they engage in dialogue!