Looking purposefully at the tags in some novels I’ve recently read expanded my view of that mere use of “he said and she said”. What I discovered while investigating some favorite authors is that tags are like an exquisite paint brush poised to dip into oodles of color choices which can aide your readers enjoyment for deeper and more satisfying experience.
What is a tag?
Dialogue tags are the words used after a character has spoken, such as "he said," and "she whispered." ... Dialogue tags are very important as they're used to show which character is speaking at any given time. http://www.fiction-writers-mentor.com/dialogue-tags/
Dialogue tags are like punctuation marks - they should be invisible, guiding the ... What about when “said” just doesn't convey the precise meaning you're after?
What is so important about them?
Beyond identifying the characters I see them used to anchor the reader to the scene. What is the character doing or thinking, etc.? For example: using a tool, eating a carrot, dropping a book in a super silent library? See what I mean!
How do we write effective tags that don’t pull you out of the story?
Take out a paper and pen and list the ways these tags are used, please. (If you were not able to attend this Zoom you can grab your favorite novel and list the uses for the tags from those favorites.
BIBLE TAGS: Matthew 26:26 – 39—Jesus at the Lord’s supper and later at Gethsemane. How many ways were the tags used in these verses?
Examples are read from Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green, pages 146 -147; The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz, Page 131- 132; Knox by Susan May Warren page 103.
You can see that word choice matters. Be careful to not be too dramatic, off topic, or unrelated to the mood or emotion at hand. Use tags to dress your message for your readers in a way that will assist their grasp of time, backdrop, mood, danger, and character observation and insight (right or wrong) to create eventful and memorable stories!
Hopefully we all worked on our prompt. If not, we can write some emotional references now. PROMPT: Write four or five samples of your favorite emotion. (Distraught, overjoyed, anxious, delighted—just to name a few.) Write these examples very basic – plain. Write them again but dress them up and make each one special by adding description or adding your unique spin on that emotion.
On page 211 of Troubleshooting Your Novel, Steven James writes, “Unless there is overwhelming contextual reason to reverse the order, speaker tags follow the name or personal pronoun of the speaker.” Personally, I’ve enjoyed the tags that came on either end of the dialogue. (Sue)
Following is an example I came up with.
A man stepped into the room. “I told the flower shop owner that you stole the flowers.”
“How could you?” She blushed.
Unkempt as always, Fredric stepped into the room. Cigar smoke trailed in from behind. His ripped pant legs were rimmed with dirt. “I told the flower shop owner that you stole the flowers.”
“How could you?” Georgina’s face bloomed as red as Aunt Peach’s Rosa ‘Ingrid Bergmans’ as their thorns pinched her finger behind her back.
ACTIVITY: Just for fun, if you wrote to the prompt then lets use those samples to create some practice “tagged dialogues.”
The Footnotes or No Notes section of this lesson will include the citation notes of endnotes and other source citations.
There are some important facts to learn such as: proper formatting and how citations are handled in the same type of document that you wish to publish. I found outstanding information in WRITE WITH EXCELLENCE 201, A lighthearted guide to the serious matter of wiring well—for Christian authors, editors, and students, by Joyce K. Ellis, pages 181 – 185 and she includes where, when, and how to cite sources as well as other books used by magazines and publishers for punctuation and formatting acceptable rules.
Footnotes—books and some magazines use those. Endnote or notes are used at the end of articles or of chapters or end of a book.
Let’s talk about what you wish to know here on our Zoom meeting! I have these books at the ready to investigate how they share their sources for research. NON-FICTION: Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger,--A Note on Sources; Original Intent, The Courts, The Constitution, and Religion by David Barton—several devises to record sources. It Couldn’t Just Happen, Fascinating Facts About God’s World by Lawrence O. Richards—Notes in the back; The Oracle, The Jubilean Mysteries Unveiled by Jonathan Cahn—Notes in the back; FICTION Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan (Aneko Press)—Bible verses in italics with use of parentheses and abbreviated scripture verses in the body of the story.
Excellent resource on punctuation for dialogue tags!
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