He said, she said

  He said, she said.

He said, she said.

I have read that writers are advised to stick to the basic word said while writing dialog, rather than trying to be "overly creative" with alternatives -- because said is good enough.

 

Hmmm......That sounds like another writing rule that simply has to be broken.

 

I've read novels and listened to books on CD in which every time a character speaks, the word said is used. It's a chosen style that seems to work, at least in small doses.  But for me, it sounds too repetitive when page after page, and chapter after chapter uses said over and over and......

 

"I'm going to the store," he said.

"Remember to get some milk," she said.

"I'll get 2%," he said.

"We should stick to skim milk," she said.

He said, "Good idea."

She said, "Hurry back."

 

Said, said, said – a bit monotonous.  Even the attempt to break the monotony, by putting that word near the front of the last two lines, rather than at the end, doesn’t really help.  The word said is so overused that a recent Wall Street Journal article summarized one teacher’s opinion that it (and other over-used words) should be banned.

 

I don't plan to ban the word from my writing.  Instead, I usually opt to replace said with other more descriptive words to make the prose less repetitive and to help set the tone and mood.  For example:

 

"I'm going to the store," he announced.

"Remember to get some milk," she called.

"I'll get 2%," he offered.

"We should stick to skim milk," she advised.

He mumbled, "Good idea."

"Hurry back."

 

I say, "Better."

 

Enough said?

 

Don