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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

How to Avoid Over-use of He Said, She Said, I Said.

I love to read books of various different genres and styles but one particular thing gets to me and if I'm honest it's an issue which I see over and over again.

The overuse of he said, she said, I said.

Memoirs and chick-lit are my favourite type of books and anything else that's written in first person. Maybe the problem is prone to first person narration but after a while the issue starts to bug me and more often than not I end up putting the book down.

If you put he said, she said, I said after every line of dialogue it becomes tedious and I find it distracts the reader away from the storyline. Instead of focusing on what the book is about the reader is more involved with the actual writing itself.

In most cases you don't have to say who is speaking as the reader should be able to work it out for themselves. But here's a clever little tip that I use and this technique will give your book an added dimension.

Instead of writing he said, she said, I said all the time why not add a line of description to tell the reader what the character is doing. By doing this not only are you avoiding the repetition that these tags can bring but you're also keeping the story in the present tense.

For example:

'But I don't want to go to the park today.' I walk over to the window and point at the rain on the glass.

This way you're not taking the reader out of the story by telling them who is speaking but you're letting the story run its natural course. You're eliminating unnecessary words and therefore making the text a much tighter read.

'But I don't want to go to the park today,' I say. I walk over to the window and point at the rain on the glass.

Which one reads better? You're saying the same thing without the unnecessary words which detract from the story.