And, if you’re near King of Prussia, PA, tonight, come out to the StoryADay Live! “Un-Dreadful Dialogue” workshop hosted by the fabulous Main Line Writers’ Group!
Write a story featuring lots of dialogue. Every time you attribute speech to a person you must use one of the ‘alternatives to said’ from the sheet.
(Click to enlarge)
- Make sure you rely entirely on the tags to convey the emotion, leaving the dialogue itself bland and without character.
- Bonus points for making all your characters sound the same.
- Be as ridiculous as you like.
- This exercise works particularly well when your subject matter is serious or shocking.
- This whole exercise is designed to show you how ridiculous dialogue tags can wreck a serious story.
- (Remember, “he said” and “she said” become invisible when you use them well. These tags never will.)
- Make sure every single utterance has a tag, whether or not you need one. (e.g. in the case of two people speaking, you can often get away with no tags at all, especially if the conversation is short and the voices are distinct.)
- Read it (and weep).