Writing Rules #7 – He Said. She Said.

When I first started writing, I used too many attributions because I thought that was what I was supposed to do to keep things clear for the reader.

But I’ve learned how to better use attributions from suggestions from my writing group and lessons from podcasts.

If two characters are talking with each other, then it isn’t necessary to put “he said” after each line. A few references sprinkled throughout the dialogue should be sufficient.

A new paragraph should start whenever someone begins speaking, but not when someone continues speaking.

Usually, what they say should come first: “Hello” said Bob.
Not: Bob said, “Hello.”

Also, if the character does an action first, then the attribution of ‘he said’ isn’t needed. For example:
Bob stood and cleared his throat. “Hello everyone.”
Not: Bob stood and cleared his throat. “Hello everyone,” he said.

Leave a Reply