Is there any other word more overused than said? Probably not. It is still, of course, an important word.

Readers don’t comprehend the word ‘said’. This is because it’s essentially an invisible word that their mind skips over while they read. As a result, the reader’s attention is absorbed back into the action, plot, or actual dialogue of the story- all very important aspects. But ‘said’ can be the bane of a writer’s existence because sometimes the way a word is spoken is just as important as what they say. It can really make the difference in the mood of even the most simple scene. Take the humble, “I’m sorry” scene, for example:

“I’m sorry.” He said.

“I’m sorry.” He lamented.

“I’m sorry.” He hissed.

“I’m sorry.” He mumbled.

“I’m sorry.” He hollered.

All examples produce very different meanings, and all are far more telling than ‘said’. Each descriptor offers information to the reader on how the character is feeling and thinking. They also show exactly how the character reacts to their environment and how they might interact with other characters and situations around them in the future. Descriptors build the personality and habits of the characters allowing readers to become familiarised with them and even identify with them.

While descriptors are useful, it is important not to overuse them and to remember that ‘said’ still has its place. It’s an important filler word for when the reader’s focus must be directed elsewhere- such as on the action of the story, or when dialogue is being used to provide a history of people and places, or world building information.

It’s also important to remember that replacing ‘said’ with descriptors isn’t the only way of changing up your dialogue! There is, of course, the old adage ‘show don’t tell’ (but more on that another time!).

For now, read on and add some magic back into your dialogue!

Other Words for Said:

A table for words other than said

 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

Blog

5 Reasons Why You Need Grammarly

Grammarly is a free editing tool that works as an extension to your browser and as an add-on to your word docs. It is a must-have tool for all writers, students, professionals, academics, bloggers, and anyone Read more…

Blog

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman – a look inside the pages

In 1916 Samuel Crothers published an article in Atlantic Monthly titled, ‘A Literary Clinic’, where he referenced the idea of ‘bibliotherapy’ – the idea that the right book could be the solution to illness. Bagster, Read more…

Blog

Writing Prompt #11

Writing Prompt #11 What if, in an alternate universe, ‘marriage’ was a ten-year contract and every ten years couples would review it and sign on for ten more or call it quits? Respond in the Read more…

Let your friends know how useful TWR was for you!