Why Use Dialog
Writers have two ways to tell a story: Dialog and Narrative (prose).
Narrative can easily become boring. To improve your writing strive to include some dialog on every page.
Using alternate words for ask will spice up your dialog.
Contents: 12 Tricks for writing outstanding dialog
8 Ways to add variety to your speech tags
Lets put all the tricks together.
List of 78 words to use instead of ask.
3 Websites about dialog to give you more ideas.
Some Tricks for Writing Outstanding Dialog
1. Dialog can be raucous and loud. In short, it has personality, just like your characters.
- Dialog is not perfect English. People use poor English like, contractions ( don’t , can’t, we’ll), when they speak.
- To make your dialog realistic use slang appropriate to the time and place of your story.
Great dialog can be awkward, quirky or outrageous.
Dialog need not include mundane greetings and good byes.
The best dialog includes movement. People rarely speak standing still.They fidget, wave their hands, and touch each other.
Opposition is the secret to maintaining energy in dialog. You don’t need a fight.
But remember to add tension to the conversation.
When a character asks something make it a powerful request.
The more visual details you add to the dialog, the more interesting it will be to your reader.Paint a picture. Help your reader both see and hear the conversation.
Break up the dialog with sights, sounds, smells and tastes.
The more interesting the details the more captivated your reader will be.
- Include changes in the speakers volume, tone, or pitch.This is one important trick to creating effective speech tags.
Here are some Ideas:
- Loud: protested, disputed, demanded, jabbed, hawked
- Soft: prayed, needled, wished, invited, angled
It is essential to make your dialog easy to read and understand.
Keep reading we have 8 more tips.
Add Variety to Your Speech Tags
If the first nine tips are not enough, this is a very important point, often overlooked.
Let me show you how this trick will add vitality to your dialog.
A dialog tag is a small phrase that can be put before, after or between the dialog.
Depending on where the tag is put you must use different punctuation, and capitalization.
Download Punctuation Rules for Writing Dialog
- If your dialog follows a section of narrative it is best to put the speech tag at the beginning.
This identify s the speaker, preventing confusion for the reader.
For example: Ben asked, “Why are you leaving?”
2.. Place the speech tag in the middle of the dialog.
For Example: “Why are you leaving,” Ben asked. ” I thought you planned to stay.”
- The speech tag can go at the end of the dialog.
For Example: “Why are you leaving? I thought you planned to stay,” Ben entreated.
5 More Ways to Vary Speech tags
Speech tags provide valuable clues, not only about who is talking but how they say it.
- You can use basic speech tags like said and ask. Or you can spice up your dialog with other verbs.
Consider these alternatives for ask. questioned queried interrogated begged petitioned prodded
Our list of 78 other verbs for ask is at the end of this post.
5. Action Tags: use physical actions or activity of the speaker to break up the dialog.
Here are some Ideas: winked folded her arms shrugged scratch chin took a deep breath snapped fingers
6. Facial Expressions make good speech tags.
Some possibilities: face darkened rolled eyes licked lips nostrils flared blushed eyes teared up
- Another type of speech tag is Tone of Voice
Like These: questioning tone snapped frustrated amused tone voice rose asked shyly
8. Thought Tags tell your reader what the point of view character or the narrator is thinking.
This type of tag helps your reader connect to your character.
Examples: “I can’t believe he said that.”
” I don’t know what I can say to her.
” What will dad say when he finds out?”
Let’s Put All the Tricks Together
At this point you realize there are many different ways to use speech tags. Varying your tags will improve your dialog.
Now let me demonstrate how this can work for you.
Dialog is in pink and the tag is in Blue.
John asked “What’s in it for you?”
“I haven’t Figured it out, yet,” Fred shrugged. “But I will.”
“What do you plan to do?” John’s face darkened.
Fred Shouted,“I don’t know.”
“I wish John would leave me alone.” Fred turned and walked away disgusted.
Can you see how different sentence structure and a variety of tags can amplify your dialog, making it more dynamic.
Dialog is an essential part of storytelling.
Now you know 17 tricks and you have a list of verbs to use. We have found this list of verbs to use instead of ask to be invaluable.
We hope you will find stronger more imaginative words to spice up your dialog. Our list will stimulate your thinking.
Sometimes ask is good. Sometimes a more descriptive word or action will create better dialog.
Your speech tags should help your readers understand your characters. How they ask questions is often more important than the question itself.
Good speech tags reveal your character’s attitudes, and emotions.
Check out our list of 240 words to use instead of said and 50 words to NEVER use or Simple guide to 55 common Literary Devices.
You might want to print or bookmark this post so you have a resource when looking for a words to replace ask.
This is a list of words we use regularly.
We hope our list is helpful to you.
|Cross examine||Interviewed||Grilled||To discover||Contested|
For more about words to use instead of ask See:
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John & Patty