Why didn’t anyone make this sooner? I hate when people only use the word “said” in stories.
BLESS YOUR COW
BLESS THIS POST.
CAN I MARRY A POST?
WHO EVER MADE THIS I LOVE YOU!
Get back on my dash!
And from the other perspective: …..oh god. Every writing teacher and workshop partner I have EVER had would tell you to BURN THIS LIST RIGHT NOW.
Sometimes replacements for “said” will work, but only sparingly or it gets annoying. I tend to use them only when it helps to indicate volume or tone. Anything else… yeah, no. If I saw something like “‘Blah di blah,’ he narrated,” I would shut the damn book, possibly throw it across the room, and not bother picking it up again. Something like that just weighs the writing down and calls WAY too much attention to itself.
In short: the dialogue itself should get the point across, without having to rely on words like this to explain it for you. If you feel like you need them, take the dialogue tag out completely (often you can get by without it in the first place), look at the actual quote, and make THAT better instead.
Yeah, one of the most frequent pieces of writing advice I’ve seen is to make dialogue speak for itself and use words like the above only very, very sparingly.
To use PageRunner’s example, the only time it should say “‘Blah di blah,’ he narrated” is if you intend the reader to realize the character is talking like David Attenborough. And even then it’d work better if you made the dialogue reflect patterns that we recognize from nature documentaries.
(Note, this is not to imply I’m exemplary at following said advice, but I do try.)