Speech tags

When we write dialogue, we often need to identify who is saying what. We do this with speech tags.

"Let’s go into the center of it," said Gregory.

"That would be a really bad idea," Kalgrash warned.

Gregory’s voice was dead, somehow pallid. He said, "It would be great to go in there. Just to see."

"No," said Kalgrash. "It would be kind of awful and you wouldn't live. You’d be pulled apart or something and you’d come out the other end all scissored up."

The most common speech tag is said—it’s so common that readers just skim over it.

You can also use more colourful verbs (such as warned, suggested, scolded, begged, chirped and so on) to add variety, flavour or impact, but if you use them too often it starts to sound fake or forced.

(Notice in the snippet above that three of the four tags are said.)

Also notice that the character name and verb can go in either order:

...said Gregory.

...Gregory said.

It’s up to you

“I wouldn’t if I were you,” I warned.

The leader lion laughed, rough and mocking. “If you were me you’d be a big scary lion. Not a tasty little boy,” he said. 

“And if I were you I wouldn’t be Clever Gobgap, who knows many things,” I said.

“Well?” Carmen asked, eyes laughing. 

“Well what?” I replied.

“What did you think?”

I smiled and looked away, not entirely sure what to say.

I meekly muttered, “It was… fun, I guess.”

“You guess!?” Carmen exclaimed, and wheeled to face me. “Come on, Eliza! Live a life!”

We've copied over your response from the previous page. Change all the speech tags, and see what effect it has.