Saturday, November 7, 2009

DeNae's Month o' Gratitude, Day Seven

Maybe you all can help me out. Say you're writing a novel. And you're an essayist, whose entire experience with dialogue is limited to the ramblings of Larry, Moe, and Curly bouncing around inside your skull. And you're already up to 8,500 words, but a good 2,300 of them are the word "SAID". And now, just THINKING the word "SAID" puts you in a homicidal frame of mind. When writing dialogue, is it all right to insert other verbs in place of "SAID"? For example:

"Hello," she barfed.
"Hello," he mowed the lawn.
"How are you doing?" she wrote a really crappy novel.
"I'm doing great," he took out the dialogue writer with a flame thrower.

I don't know about you, but to me that was just really lovely prose.

"Ok, back to the salt mines," DeNae filed her taxes.

7: I am thankful for my big, red, earth-hating SUV. I know. Driving alone the 1/4 of a mile to Albertson's in a Yukon XL makes me the poster child for "Those Non-Green Pinkos the Obama Personality Cult Intends to Round Up and Force to Dress in Shifts Made of 8x10 Glossies of Al Gore Until They're Sufficiently Re-Programmed," (and may I add, they really need to tighten that slogan up a bit) but I love that I can load my paid-for beast with everything from 200 petroleum-based plastic grocery bags to 150,000 non-bio-degradable styrofoam cups.

We've all got to do our part, and I happily do mine in a vehicle that gets 11 miles to the dinosaur.


Kristina P. said...

Yes! You have joined me on my mission to destroy the earth!

Happy Mom said...

You, my dear, make me happy!

Annette Lyon said...

1) 90% of the time, use "said." Honestly, readers don't notice it. It's an invisible word that helps them keep who's talking straight. YOU might be sick of it, but it's rare readers even notice it.

2) If you do use a different word, make sure it's a verb you can actually SPEAK. You can't smell, mow, or write speech. (Go ahead and try sniffing a word.) You CAN yell, ask, whisper, or call, though. So use verbs in tags that are speakable.

3) Avoid speech tags altogether by putting an action NEXT to the dialogue. (If the action is AFTER the dialogue, be sure have a period end the dialogue so it's not acting as a speech tag and you don't get a funky verb acting as "said.") So:

Joe slumped on the couch and shook his head. "This is NaNo thing is kicking my butt."


"This NaNo thing is kicking my butt." Joe slumped on the couch and shook his head.

Does that help at all?


for posts about dialogue. We've done a bunch that would probably be useful.

I'm still impressed that an essayist is taking on NaNo!

brudcrew said...

"Thanks for the smile as usual!" I said.

wendy said...

"well" , commented wendy "you are one funny gal"
DeNae exclaims "sheeesh wendy, so are you"
"ah Denae" as wendy picks her nose "you are too kind"

nothing like a big vehicle to show your assertivness while on the road I say. ( I mean not I say ----more like I proclaim)

Brooke said...

So here's my honest-to-goodness problem with big SUVs . . . I can't squeeze through the Taco Bell drive-thru in them. And believe me, I've tried. They can fit through McDs or Burger King or any of the other, uhemm, Luncheon Establishments. But for some reason, I can't seem to fit those big monsters through Taco Bell's skinny little drive thru lane.

And since Taco Bell is the cheapest Dining Facility around (and I've got a lot of Big 'Ol Appetites to satisfy), I'm gonna have to stick with my slightly-less-gas-guzzling Mountaineer.

Kazzy said...

What can I say? SUVs are great fun!

Hel said...

I choose convenience over Al Gore too. The thing I am most looking forward to when I move to the states is the bulk disposable plates and cutlery. we still have to make our own down here in Australia... we do it by straining used paper through our teeth - A tad inconvenient if you ask me.

And just to be certain, Hel just SAID all that. As she lay on the couch listening to her husband do all the house duties.

The Garden of Egan said...

Amen Sista! You continue to drive the beast!
You can't make me believe in Gorebal Warming......I'm livin' in the Artic Zone!

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

"Let's go to the party," Marge gushed in a spitting sort of way.

"No, let's not. I don't have anything to wear," Alice drooped all over the back of the chair and nearly fell on the floor.

"Then I'm going alone," Marge sarcastically threw all of Alices prom dresses on the floor. "And I'll dance with men of the most gregarious kind."

"Fine," simpered Alice.

Everyone in Bloggerville knows when a woman says "fine" things are not fine.

I think this is fine fiction.

AS Amber said...

Her!!! Right above me! She's the one whose picture reminds me of Aunt Helen.

So I read these books to my kids called "A to Z Mysteries" and they use the word "said" so freaking much that I just wanna kill myself. Seriously. I've had to stop taking razor blades with me when I tuck them in bed.

I love my Yukon, too. And I just found out that my earth-hating town is about to start doing recycling. But we can go to city hall and sign a thing saying we want to opt out of that and save like $6 a month.

So I'm going to do that. Now who's the earth-hater??? You, me and Kristina P.

Gloria (The Mamafamilias) said...

I'm so proud of you.

Guess what - I throw coca cola cans in the trash can! Ha. And if I knew where Al Gore lives - I'd rent the biggest SUV I could find and throw a coca cola can in his yard.

M-Cat said...

Killing this planet together. One SUV at a time.

L.T. Elliot said...

I use said a lot too so don't worry.

I love my car too. You can't go to Costco without somewhere to stack 15 crates of toilet paper!

InkMom said...

Tom Swifties, DeNae! Throw in an adverb and no one will know the difference!