10 Ways Writers Avoid “Said”

Today I’m noticing how authors carefully avoid over-use of the word, “said,” in conversations between characters. As I circle the “said” substitutes, I’m becoming more aware of the possibilities and the whole exercise becomes a reading adventure.

So far I’m reading:

asked, argued, taunted, corrected, hinted, sighed, teased, muttered, giggled, snorted, blurted, exploded, demanded, objected, called, added, hissed, grimaced, whispered, screamed, and murmured … and the list goes on.

Hmm … what beginning writers think about! — A simple lesson in defining the speakers in fictional conversations.

I thought this lesson was more positive than my delving into the awful things that cows really eat these days. Yes, I found this in a young adult book at the bookstore. As much as I wanted to stop off at a hamburger joint yesterday, I kept getting visions of cows living off the weirdest stuff like the guts and brains of other cows, plus concrete dust. Yuk! How disgusting.

Now I wonder if I  would be better off eating my words today than the non-food items in my local grocery store.  While the author ponders this deep question, she hopes you will focus on the important word, “said,” and its many possible replacements.

Ps. In a future post I’ll give credit to the author of that fascinating book about disgusting things that animals eat. I think you might enjoy the enlightenment, or not!


You’re Either a Writer or You’re Not

So said the stranger as he strode off into the crowd. Some say he was a dancer. Some say he was a pilot. Whoever he was, he meant what he said: You’re either a writer or you’re not.