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Said Isn’t Dead
There, I said it.
Now, hear me out before you gather your torches and pitchforks and march on my apartment.
First, some backstory and why I’m putting this piece out today:
Last Sunday, I was trolling through my Pinterest, re-pinning some prompts to my Writing Prompts board, when I got a notification that someone commented on a pin I re-pinned about ‘said’ being dead.
The commenter, a professional editor and critic (and therefore probably knows what they’re talking about), says that, “Using every word except for “said” results in clunky prose that distracts the reader from the dialogue.”
Now, I re-pinned the “Said is Dead” pin, so I don’t have a problem with the concept as a whole, when it’s used the right way. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using alternatives in your text, and if there’s one thing Pinterest is great for, it’s for supplying you with alternatives.
But I ALSO have no problem with the comment.
In fact, I probably agree with it more, solely due to the fact that if you don’t know how to use the “Said is Dead” concept the write way, then your writing is going to have some problems.
Because here’s the thing: if you focus on tagging your dialogue with words that aren’t ‘said’, then you’re not focusing enough on the important part—the story.
“But wait!” You may have said as you stare at Google and look at the thousands of results about ‘Said is Dead’, like the article about a school in Kentucky that had a funeral for ‘said’ and other words they deemed worn out. “Does that mean that the Fake Redhead has gone off the deep end and is steering us wrong?”
Put down the pitchforks, I’m not steering you wrong, I promise.
While it IS important to teach kids in school about synonyms and that there are other words to use instead of said—it’s important because it expands their vocabularies and is a step toward making them into semi-articulate adults.
But with writing, it’s a double-edged sword, because yes, there are times where other words are better than ‘said’, and good writing is also important.
So this piece is going to sound a LOT like last week’s post on not stressing and just using your character’s dang name.
But I’m writing it anyway, because that’s how I roll.
Click the Continue Reading button for my number one reason why this whole ‘Said is Dead’ thing is bull.
Continue reading “The One Reason Why “Said Is Dead” Is Bull”