I'm sure we've all come across articles that remind us that "said" is unacceptable to use as one of your main (or only), dialogue tags and I personally agree. "Said", to me, used too often can seem lazy, or like it's missing an opportunity to give your readers a deeper look at what's going on in that moment with your precious characters and their stories we're so excited to tell our readers! I'm so committed that if I read an advice article and they say it's all right to use "said" most of the time, I will stop reading the article and never read it again. (I've actually done that--twice.) I even went through my novel when it was one huge document, and replaced "said" each time it was used with something better. HOWEVER --just because a book uses "said" often does not make it a bad or poorly written book, or made the author a bad one, either. For example, I'm currently listening to an audiobook of Uncle Tom's Cabin, and Harriet Beecher Stowe uses "said" most of the time, with an adverb attached. Does that make it any less of a brilliant, dramatic story? Of course not! Or a more modern example: In the Harry Potter series, "said" was everywhere. But it was still a fantastic, well-written enjoyable story each time. Here are a few examples from my novel. These are a few opportunities which would've been missed, had "said" been used: Opportunity #1 A chance to display character: Which one tells you more about the character speaking, Francis? a) "Margret, come here and look at this." Francis said to his wife. OR... b) "Margret, come here and look at this." Francis instructed his wife. *What do we now know about Francis? Opportunity #2: Helping a character distinguish what they mean: a) "I don't hate religion." Will said. "I just find most of it highly questionable." OR... b) "I don't hate religion." Will clarified. "I just find most of it highly questionable." *Do we get a little more insight as to whether or not Will hates religion? Opportunity #3: It can pack an emotional punch: a) "I know what this is about: me." Francis said. "You're doing this to me." OR... b) "I know what this is about: me." Francis theorized. "You're doing this to me." *Are we hit harder with Francis's emotions/state of mind? Opportunity #4: It can describe how the character is talking (and even feeling): a) "Like hell you did nothing!" Augustus said, outraged. OR... b) "Like hell you did nothing!" Augustus barked, outraged. *Can we hear Augustus's voice in the second one? Opportunity # 5: It just sounds better. a) "Do you know why I like Champagne?" "Why's that?" "The bubbles, because, they make me laugh!" She cutely said in a tipsy giggle. OR... b) "Do you know why I like Champagne?" "Why's that?" "The bubbles, because, they make me laugh!" She cutely fluttered, in a tipsy giggle. *Doesn't that sound better? Feel free to share your own examples where you picked something much more colorful than "said" so we can check it out! If you have any advice, insights or resources on the topic, add in!