Thursday, July 14, 2011

Danger With Dialogue Tags

Ran into this advice on dialogue tags whilst surfing the Interwebs the other day and just had to respond with a post.

The title should really be "Here's One Way To Use Attribution Tags When Writing Dialogue."

Because the author makes it seem like this is only way.

Nope.

It's just one way of using tags.

Read that again:

This is just one way of using attritbution tags.

For instance, the author writes:
Short quotes:
  • Place the attribution tag at the end, so your reader pays attention to the quote itself.
    • "I’m feeling confident about how to punctuate direct quotes," Sheila said.
Actually
Sheila said, "I’m feeling confident about how to punctuate direct quotes."
is also correct.

She also advises:
In most cases, place the speaker’s name first, followed by the attribution word:
  • Sheila said
NOT said Sheila
Um...not quite.

"Said Sheila" is also correct.

Author Juliette Wade has a post on the "Sheila said/said Sheila" issue.

Read it. There's some good stuff in there.

So what's the lesson for today?

The only rule in writing is to write a good story.

Dialogue attritubion tags?

Whatever way works best.

Seriously.

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