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And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Repeat after me: S-S-S-S-S.

Well, I've done it. 
I've just knowingly typed an "ly" adverb after a dialog tag. It couldn't be helped.

"Shut the door. Leave me alone," I say, pitifully.

I honestly tried to use another verb, but I'd already used it two paragraphs later. 
And you know how much editors hate that "echo" thing.

The pitifully just worked. For the rhythm, the tone, the situation. So I'm leaving it.

But I do it knowing that it worked for that dialog tag. And I hope all of you writers out there are doing the same. Making choices that work, that sound right when read aloud. And that don't echo themselves throughout your chapters.

Now, get ready for my Personal Peeve.

I'm reading a very good book. Well-plotted, an unusual place, time, heroine.
Twists and turns. In fact, close to a page-turner.

And no, I'm not telling you the title.
Because these little dialog tags are irritating the heck out of me.

"Quiet," he hissed.

A few pages later:
"We aren't supposed to be talking," he hissed.

"Don't say anything," I hissed in his ear.

"..., then walk away," I hissed.

Not to pick on that author, because plenty of writers use dialog tags that don't seem to work. IMHO. (Then again, everything on this blog is just my opinion.)

But this HISSING thing is
-->giving me a hissy fit.  really bothersome.

Others agree.

Though if you read the comments to this blogpost, you'll see that not everybody agrees. 

It's worth clicking over to that link, above, just to see the hilarious cartoon, which I'd love to use but think is copyrighted. Oh well. Just go. I'll wait.

Okay, thanks for coming back to this very intellectual rant about HISSING your dialog. 

Check out what the folks at Absolute Water Cooler say.
A few there contend that it's okay to HISS, even if there's not an S in sight.

If I've now confused you about dialog tags, check out some basic facts:
NJ SCBWI guru, Kathy Temean has a simple explanation of dialog tags on her blog.  

And I almost hate to lead you here, but remember the storm I kicked up a while back when I posted my SAID IS DEAD post? 
Yep. That's what some teachers seem to want kids to learn.  

And before I stir up another can of hissing snakes, yes, I write for kids.  
(aside: That book mentioned above, full of hissed un-hissable sentences was a Young Adult novel, historical fiction.) 

So maybe the rules are different for other genres. 
If you write well, you can bend, crack, stretch the rules.

But I still can't see HISSING quiet sentences with no ssssssss sounds.
At least not more than once in a while. 

If you're still reading, I'll leave you with one last link.

End of rant. Back to work now.

Feel free to comment. Stir up that pot, please. Hiss away.


Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for the links, AUgusta. Plan to check them out. I think that many hisses would get on my nerves too! THe rules, they keep on changing!

Barbara O'Connor said...

"Great post!" she raved. "I couldn't have said it better myself," she lamented.