Sunday, June 27, 2010

Action Tags

finished Ch. 7; 12,875 word count

Writing Tip: We use action tags to give rhythm to dialogue. The tags can slow the rhythm or speed it up. In the original writing, I used asked and said, which are almost invisible to the reader. The brain registers the word and the meaning, but doesn't conjure up an image like another word, say, "hollyhocks." (he said, she said, he asked, she asked are called dialog tags or attributions)

Effie asked, “Is it safe?”
“Yes, they’ve gone for noonmeal," said Bealomondore. "Hand me the goat."

But when the author wants the reader to visualize, some cues are needed. These cues or action tags also help creat the pace and rhythm. The best way to catch this and pinpoint a need is to read aloud. I read everything aloud or have it read to me.

Revised lines: Effie grabbed his coat sleeve. “Is it safe?”
“Yes, they’ve gone for noonmeal.” He went over the edge and disappeared. She heard a thud and this his voice. “Hand me the goat.

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