(the above illustration came from the TEACHERS PAY TEACHERS website. You hit this link and it will take you right there. Let me tell you something folks – I have worked with a LOT of kids at schools across Canada – and when I bring one of my storytelling workshops to a classroom those kids leave the classroom feeling inspired to go forth and read and write. I’m pretty good at what I do. However, without fail, some teacher or another will point it out to me – “Gee,” they will say. “You have a real gift for this work. Have you ever thought about being a teacher yourself?” But teaching – every day out of a school year – takes a degree of guts, passion and sheer determination that I do not possess. Teaching is HARD work. The next time you talk to a teacher make sure you shake their hand. They have earned it.)
I’ve got a confession to make.
I am a said-addict.
In fact, I’ve even had more than a few editors/publishers tell me – “Dude, you say said way more times than you ought to!”
But sometimes, when you’re writing dialogue, nothing else will do!
I can’t tell you how many times I have hurled a book across the floor for one too many “he giggled”, “he chortled”, “he grunted”, or “he ejaculated”.
The fact was he didn’t do any of those things.
What he did was he “said” something.
My favourite example has to be from a book I read many years ago that involved the Spear of Destiny – the one that Roman soldier stuck in Christ’s side.
I can’t remember who wrote it.
One of the characters in the novel was a German general.
A panzer general.
“Why don’t you just say said?” the general rumbled.
Cool, I thought. A tank general who rumbles. I like that.
The first time I read it, that is.
Then, two pages later he rumbled again.
Then three paragraphs later.
It wasn’t too long before I started wondering how ANYONE could even understand just what the heck that dude was saying what with him rumbling all the time. I mean – did he have digestion problems? Were his clockworks wound too tightly? Not enough WD-40 in his diet?
Why was the dude rumbling?
But the author of that novel didn’t care. He kept that poor old general rumbling for at least sixteen chapters before he finally shot the dude.
“I’m dying,” he rumbled.
Next time just say said!
(this blog entry owes much to the inspiration of a Kindleboards thread which you can read just by clicking HERE!)
yours in storytelling,