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'SAID' vs 'ONLY ACTION' inside dialogue : Tips and Advice • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

'SAID' vs 'ONLY ACTION' inside dialogue

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HawkEliz489
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'SAID' vs 'ONLY ACTION' inside dialogue

Postby HawkEliz489 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:12 am

I hope the topic title is not very confusing, I didn't know how to put it..
I'm wondering if it is okay to 'cut' - 'said' (unless it's a strong verb) - after person says something.

For example:
“Good job, Erin,” Jack clapped a hand across her back as he tried to catch his breath.
VS
“Good job, Erin,” said Jack and clapped a hand across her back as he tried to catch his breath.


So is it okay to cut off extra 'said' words when action takes place between dialogues?
“Do I look like the leader of this merry band of misfits?”

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shadowwalker
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Re: 'SAID' vs 'ONLY ACTION' inside dialogue

Postby shadowwalker » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:09 am

It's definitely okay. However, it would be written as a separate sentence (no comma):

“Good job, Erin.” Jack clapped a hand across her back as he tried to catch his breath.

If more dialog follows the beat, it's another sentence (again, no comma):

“Good job, Erin.” Jack clapped a hand across her back as he tried to catch his breath. "I couldn't do better myself."
"It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

It's really not that hard. Just tell me a story.

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cynicalwanderer
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Re: 'SAID' vs 'ONLY ACTION' inside dialogue

Postby cynicalwanderer » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:12 am

Hmm, not really. That's too much, I think, to try and mix a piece of dialogue that leads in with the comma towards an attribution but then use a non-attribution verb.

You could however just finish the dialogue with a period and have the action after that, which is fairly standard:

“Good job, Erin.” Jack clapped a hand across her back as he tried to catch his breath.
"I've stopped giving advice. Even when people ask for it, they resent getting it." -Ross Macdonald.

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HawkEliz489
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Re: 'SAID' vs 'ONLY ACTION' inside dialogue

Postby HawkEliz489 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:10 pm

Thank you guys. Now it's more understandable from the corrections you showed me.
And since we came to comma and period, I find myself struggling in where to really use them.

For example, you guys corrected my mistake of "comma" with "period" in the above example.
But let's say I have a sentence like "Man, that guy is crazy," said Thomas. "I think we should call the police." (let's say I used 'period' instead of 'comma' in the beginning of this sentence, would it be a mistake? Or would it just make TWO different sentences said by Thomas?)
And another question. I've seen some two or multiple person dialogues in which characters' sentences end with commas when they talk.

Both Harry and Ron stood up.
“Say that again,” Ron said, his face as red as his hair.
“Oh, you’re going to fight us, are you?” Malfoy sneered.
“Unless you get out now,” said Harry, more bravely than he felt,
because Crabbe and Goyle were a lot bigger than him or Ron.


(this is an example from Harry Potter) Does the same rule goes for this dialogue? Like, let's say Ron's or Harry's part of dialogue included 'action' instead of 'said' - would their sentences end with periods, too?
“Do I look like the leader of this merry band of misfits?”

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shadowwalker
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Re: 'SAID' vs 'ONLY ACTION' inside dialogue

Postby shadowwalker » Mon Jun 13, 2016 1:08 pm

"It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

It's really not that hard. Just tell me a story.

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HawkEliz489
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Re: 'SAID' vs 'ONLY ACTION' inside dialogue

Postby HawkEliz489 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 1:17 pm

“Do I look like the leader of this merry band of misfits?”

James A. Ritchie
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Re: 'SAID' vs 'ONLY ACTION' inside dialogue

Postby James A. Ritchie » Mon Jun 20, 2016 2:41 pm

Flip it around and place the action first. This works far better.

Jack clapped a hand across her back as he tried to catch his breath. “Good job, Erin.”

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DrG2
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Re: 'SAID' vs 'ONLY ACTION' inside dialogue

Postby DrG2 » Mon Jun 20, 2016 7:23 pm


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shadowwalker
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Re: 'SAID' vs 'ONLY ACTION' inside dialogue

Postby shadowwalker » Mon Jun 20, 2016 10:36 pm

True - and good point.
"It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

It's really not that hard. Just tell me a story.


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