Thursday, September 09, 2010

13 Different Ways to Say "Said"


As a writer, I am always looking for different ways to tag my characters' dialogue. The use of "said" over and over can get boring, so I play around with different dialogue tags. For examples, I've pulled some sentences from my latest release DOUBLE DARE, my best-selling erotic interracial menage a trois! It's available in paperback and ebook!

1. Lana lifted the two brown bags she had in her hands and announced, “We brought Tai food!”

2. “What do you want, Quinn?” Logan asked through his clenched teeth.

3. Ty moved back a bit and whispered, “Lo, I love you.”

4. “Holy shit,” Quinn blurted out before she could stop herself.

5. “Do you want it hard, baby?” Logan rasped, catching her earlobe between his teeth.

6. “Ah, fuck, she’s so tight,” Ty groaned out.

7. “I’m coming,” she cried out, her breathing harsh and rapid.

8. “Yes, you could love us,” Logan answered her.

9. “God, can it get any better than this?” she asked in a low whisper, her forehead pressed against both of them.

10. Ty yelled, “Fuck you!” from around the back of the truck, but Quinn could see him, kicking off his boots, pulling off his jeans, peeling his damp boxer briefs off, and throwing them all into the truck bed.

11. “The matching tigers?” she prodded.

12. “And we wanted to remember that turning point forever,” Ty finished for him, his jaw tight as Logan continued to lick down Ty’s hard length, his hot breath beating against Quinn’s skin.

13. “Fried chicken from Charlie’s Chicken Shack,” Lana crowed, propping her feet on Quinn’s desk.

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A. Catherine Noon said...

How fun! Thanks for sharing!

Maddy Barone said...

Nice variety. Thanks for sharing!

Alice Audrey said...

These read very smoothly.

Savanna Kougar said...

Jeanne, so thank you. I CAN'T STAND TO USE 'SAID' ANYMORE, so I'm always looking for other words and ways to tag dialogue. Those are great.

Jennifer Leeland said...

Awwww dialogue tags. That bain of my existence.
Now, how about 13 words for "look"? lOL!

Paige Tyler said...

Fun TT! I like how you used your book to demonstrate!


My TT is at

Heather said...

Nicely illustrated use of alternative dialogue tags.

Adelle Laudan said...

Seriously, you know you're an author when you have umpteen lists just like this all over your desk.

Great fun. Happy T13!

Inez Kelley said...

good job here. I tend to use more action tags than dialogue but it is tricky.

Darla M Sands said...

I'm so with you on this! After listening to a book on tape, I can barely stand the word.

Kimberly Menozzi said...

I'm immune to "said", I guess. I don't even notice it when I read. But maybe if I listened to books on tape or cd, like Darla, it might start to get to me. LOL!

Jenna Byrnes said...

You did a nice job with these, Jeanne. However, some publishers ask authors not to use anything but said. When you use an unusual word, it can draw the reader out of the story which we don't want. Best idea is to use action tags which require a period at the end of the dialogue. (Groan is an action, not a dialogue tag.) LOL

Good post!



Jenna Byrnes said...

Oops, I meant to add that like Kimberly, most readers are immune to the word said. Their eyes skim right over it. When you throw in something fancy like 'he extrapolated', the reader stops and wonders, 'huh?'

Similarly, if you use 'she screeched' or 'she ranted', your character comes off looking like a nut. (Yes, these are examples from personal knowledge!)

I guess the answer is moderation.


Elise Logan said...

I like to use a lot of different tags - but they are specifically evocative. Sometimes, said means said. Just not ALL the time. :)

Savanna Kougar said...

Many years ago, one of the reasons I QUIT reading romance novels, and began writing my own, is because I COULD NOT STAND seeing 'said' as the dialogue tag one more effing time!!!

There are some writing styles where the eye does simply skim over 'said'. And that works. No problem here. However, there are other writing styles where when 'said' is used constantly. I want to take 'said' out with an axe in my hand and kill it, dead, dead, dead!

I guess those who like the word as a dialogue tag won't be reading my books.

Certainly, if a publisher required I use 'said' I would be OUTTA there!!!