1. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Dialogue Tag Question

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by funkybassmannick, Mar 26, 2011.

    So, I've noticed that in my writing, I like putting dialogue tags in the middle.

    Examples:
    "And this," said Rachel, "Is where I put my all my dead bodies."
    "What are you saying?" said Joseph. "You need to refrigerate them!"

    I don't do it all the time, but I probably do it nearly half of the time. What do you think, too much? I just hate it when I'm reading a story, and I don't know who is speaking until the end of a couple sentences, and then I almost have to re-read it and imagine that person speaking. Or, if I already know who is speaking, but the tag says they are speaking sarcastically or whatever, and then I have to re-read it and think of it being sarcastic.

    I guess I don't necessarily have that frustration now, but I remember having it when I was younger, and I'm trying to write a middle-grade book.
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I do it a lot and I think it's fine, but it can be annoying if there's only two people talking and you say "___ said" after every single quote.
     
  3. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    Seems fine, when reading I usually read/speak, or whisper the prose except the said part anyway, and I think most avid readers do as well, so placement is not absolutely crucial.

    Yes with just two characters, I like to omit some 'said's and let the flow of the dialogue ID them.
     
  4. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    It's not a problem if it's not overused. Everybody has stylistic habits when they write, anyways; for instance, I use hyphens and parenthetical side statements a lot in my non-fiction writing (like essays). Still, if you think you might be slightly overusing it, then of course you should cut down on it a bit. I've heard that having the dialogue tags in the middle might be distracting to some readers when it is overused or used improperly, as it can interrupt the flow of the dialogue. Ultimately, however, it's your call.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's a technique. It shouldn't be a blind habit.

    Inserting the tag within the dialogue subtly implies a pause where the tag is placed. It isn't an explicit pause, but psychologically it is a wider wedge than just a comma.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    plus, if you do it, be sure to do it correctly... in the first example above, for instance, you should not have a capital 'i' at the beginning of the continuation of that sentence...
     
  7. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Thanks!

    And thanks to everyone else's comments, too. Very helpful.
     
  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This. I think you should read your stuff aloud. That will help you understand where the pauses are. Putting tags where they are most effective is an art in itself.
     

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