Dialogue Tags-A Study in Common Errors

Written by Jennifer Turner


A study in Common Errors and Their Quick Fixes.

Verb and Subject


"I bet you two had a fine time," said Ben.

When using tags, it's unusual to haverepparttar verb beforerepparttar 129302 subject. The general rule of thumb is to use this construction sparingly, as a rare change in pace or flow. In addition, many editors are asking this construction not appear at all in a manuscript.


"I bet you two had a fine time," Ben said.

The Comma and As


"Do you kiss toads often? Or are you just a little weird?" Betty asked, wrinkling her nose in distaste.

"I often findrepparttar 129303 little green guys cute. You should try it sometime," Bertha said as she giggled.

In both instances,repparttar 129304 comma after asked, andrepparttar 129305 ‘as' after said, indicaterepparttar 129306 dialogue tag isn't necessary. Each is greatly improved by removingrepparttar 129307 tag and allowingrepparttar 129308 following sentence to stand on its own.


"Do you kiss toads often? Or are you just a little weird?" Betty wrinkled her nose in distaste.

"I often findrepparttar 129309 little green guys cute. You should try it sometime." Bertha giggled.

Unnecessary Tags


Mary scoffed atrepparttar 129310 idea. "I don't think you want me at your party," she replied.

Since we are firmly in Mary's head atrepparttar 129311 point of her dialogue, it can be assumed it is her reply. If you use a tag like this, ask yourself if it's really necessary. Is it obvious this is her reply? Then you don't need it. New writer's struggle withrepparttar 129312 idea that every bit of dialogue needs to be accredited to a character, otherwiserepparttar 129313 reader will be confused. The idea is to write so well from one character's perspective, thatrepparttar 129314 reader will immediately tell who's dialogue it is.


Mary scoffed atrepparttar 129315 idea. "I don't think you want me at your party."

Over Explainingrepparttar 129316 Tag


"I don't care if you kiss allrepparttar 129317 frogs inrepparttar 129318 world, you aren't bringing that toad to my party," Shelly warned, her voice rising.

Ask yourself these questions when you find yourself hunting for words to explainrepparttar 129319 dialogue inrepparttar 129320 tag:

Is Shelly's dialogue showing her warning?

Is it clear from what Shelly says that her voice is rising?

What am I trying to show Shelly feeling with this tag?

You won't need to ask yourself these questions as you discover your own style more, but inrepparttar 129321 meantime, it's a good idea to look through your tags to see if any of them could be replaced, or simply deleted. Her outrage could have been shown much better by this sentence:

Maximizing The Effect Of Your Freelancer's Bio

Written by Angela Booth

*Article Use Guidelines*

Use in opt-in publications, or on Web sites, but please includerepparttar resource box.

Please send me a copy, if possible. Many thanks.


Summary: If you want to be a successful freelancer, you need to learnrepparttar 129299 art ofrepparttar 129300 bio.

Category: Writing, Small Business

Words: 1100

Maximizing The Effect Of Your Freelancer's Bio

Copyright (c) 2003 by Angela Booth

Your freelancer's bio is a vital job-hunting tool.

While traditional job hunters have CVs and resumes, independent writers and other independent professionals have biographies, because as an independent, you're working *with* your clients as a consultant, rather than working *for* them as an employee.

Yes, bios, plural. You need at least four bios of various lengths: 200 words, 100, 50 and 25. Over time, you'll create dozens of bios, as you emphasize your various strengths to suit a situation.

Many writers find it excruciating to write about themselves. If you feel this way, don't despair. You will get over this shyness in time. Until you do, force yourself to write at least three bios. I promise, after you've created your fourth and fifth, writing a bio will be a breeze.

=>It's not about you, it's about them

Self-interest rules. So before you write a word, ask yourself aboutrepparttar 129301 client andrepparttar 129302 client's needs. You must approach your bio from your client's perspective.

If you're answering a job ad, this is easy. You know whatrepparttar 129303 client wants, because she's told you. Make sure that you slant your bio towardsrepparttar 129304 requirements expressed inrepparttar 129305 ad.

Usually you'll introduce yourself to businesses without a job ad to guide you. The most effective way to do this is with a mini- proposal. You send a mini-proposal, because you should never, ever send out a naked bio; you must have a reason, other than self-interest, for contacting a business. (More on naked bios below.)

A mini-proposal is a single page, with:

* a description of a problem (or need) you perceiverepparttar 129306 business has;

* an outline ofrepparttar 129307 solution;

* why you'rerepparttar 129308 person to solve this problem --- what skills you have (your bio).

Mini-proposals are easy to write, and once you've written a few, you should be able to write two an hour.

And because your mini-proposal is focused on your prospect, it will be kept byrepparttar 129309 business you send it to. I often receive calls from companies I sent a mini-proposal to three or more years ago.

Did you notice howrepparttar 129310 mini-proposal focused onrepparttar 129311 client andrepparttar 129312 client's needs? After saying who you are, you talk aboutrepparttar 129313 client, not about you.

That said, you should start your letter or email message with a very quick statement of who you are. Like this:

Dear Mr Jones

I'm Cindy Cooper, of Cooper Copywriting. I write for business. I found your Web site, and ... (here's where you describerepparttar 129314 problem or need you think Mr Jones has that you could solve).

After this super-fast introduction,repparttar 129315 bulk ofrepparttar 129316 letter/ email message will be taken up with your outlines ofrepparttar 129317 needrepparttar 129318 business has, and your proposed solution. KEEP THE FOCUS ON THE CLIENT.

Finally, after presenting this information, comes your bio, and your bio should be no longer than a quarter ofrepparttar 129319 length ofrepparttar 129320 entire letter. So let's say that your need/ solution outline takes 200 words; in this case your bio will be no longer than 50 words.

*Your letter MUST focus onrepparttar 129321 client andrepparttar 129322 client's needs. Your bio needs to be short in comparison.*

Cont'd on page 2 ==>
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