Dear Ms. Gibson:
I love your books and hope you can give me some writing advice. So many times, I run out of words how to say things. I use a thesaurus and such but I just get so frustrated trying to find more words to get an action across. Like walk. How else can you say a character walks. And said. I get so tired of writing said. Any advice?
I've had this problem myself. In fact, I have several thesaurus websites booked just so I can do quick references for actions that my characters are doing.
I'll list suggestions for word replacement. But, let me tell you what many writers and editors have told me about "said." Said is a throw-away word that has to be there. You want to be careful not to use to many descriptive words to replace "said" because they'll just get in the way of the story or won't make sense. Example: in a contest I judged, the writer kept saying...
"...Sally giggled." or "Sally sighed." or "Sally squeaked."
Is she an asthmatic mouse who'll laugh at anything? LOL! Seriously, though...you can't giggle, sigh, or squeak dialogue. In attempting to get away from the word "said," the writer wrote something that's incorrect. She should have said something like, "...Sally said with a sigh," or "Sally giggled as she spoke" or "Sally said with squeak." See the diff?
If you still need other words for said, use them...just do it sparingly. Here are some suggestions:
Action verbs to replace SAID -
add, affirm, allege, announce, answer, assert, break silence, claim, come out with, communicate, conjecture, convey, declare, deliver, disclose, divulge, do, estimate, express, flap, gab, give voice, guess, imagine, imply, jaw judge, lip, maintain, make known, mention, opine, orate, perform, pronounce, put forth, put into words, rap, read, recite, rehearse, relate, remark, render, repeat, rely, report, respond, reveal, rumor, speak, spiel, state, suggest, tell, utter, verbalize, voice, yak
Action verbs to replace WALK -
advance, amble, canter, crawl, creep, ease, escpre, exercise, foot, go, hike, hoof it, hustle, lead, locomote, lumber, march, meander, pace, pad, parade, patrol, plod, prance, procede, promenade, pursue, race, roam, rove, run, saunter, scoot, scuff, scurry, scuttle, scramble, scamper, shadow, shamble, sidle, shuffle slink, slog, stalk, step, stride, stroll, strut, stumble, stump, tottle, tour, traipse, tramp, traverse, tread, trek, troop, trot, trudge, wander, waddle, wobble
How these help! Let me know other words you'd like replacement help with.
Marley = )
GHOST HUNTRESS: THE REASON - available now!
GHOST HUNTRESS: THE COUNSELING - September 2010