Self-editing 101.

/Self-editing 101.

#8 on this list, about ditching dialogue tags, is an interesting one for me.

I used to go very sparse on dialogue tags, either omitting them entirely or hiding them in action-sentences. Then I started hearing my stuff being read aloud (#2 on the list), and… yeah, okay. Omitting dialogue tags is a literary quirk that relies on the format of the printed page.

“Because readers are conditioned to know that is one person speaking–”

“And this is a separate one–”

“–by the way the punctuation breaks up the lines.”

But now go and read that out loud (with one voice, no cheating), and try and figure it out.

Yeah. See?

So nowadays I probably “over tag” a little bit, though generally in the “Character said” way. Basically the idea is to try and keep the tag invisible to the reader; not to disrupt the flow, nor to confuse with an ambiguous origin.

That’s the intent, anyway.

2017-08-23T09:51:39+00:00 2nd May, 2014|Tags: books, writing|Comments Off on Self-editing 101.