A great post on dialogue tags!
A few months ago I stumbled across a funny Tumblr post labelled ‘Dialog Tags of Doom’. I found it both entertaining and disheartening because it gives the opinion of a NYC book editor towards specific dialogue tags. I’ve copied the examples here and edited out the swearing, so if you choose to click on the link, just be aware that there is some offensive language in the original. Otherwise, here’s my PG-rated version:
“she whispered almost imperceptibly”: Good thing your protagonist has super-human powers of perception.
“she bubbled enthusiastically”: Redundant descriptors are redundant.
“he murmured”: Speak up!
“she whispered huskily”: What is she, a sled dog? Not sexy.
“he choked”: Ever hear someone choke? They can’t talk at the same time.
“he explicated”: Put down the thesaurus.
“she argued heatedly”: Show, don’t tell.
“she simpered”: Who actually simpers? It’s so 1970’s Idealized Movie Woman.
“he managed at last”: Over-used.
“he exploded”: CALL AN AMBULANCE.
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