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Freelance editor Jessica Hatch has always focused on telling stories and on telling stories well.

Friday Finds: Helpful Resources on the Successful Use of Dialogue Tags

Friday Finds is a new series I'm introducing to the Hatch Books blog. Every Friday morning, find a round-up of helpful writing, editing, and publishing tips right here... or in your inbox, if you subscribe to my newsletter!

Helpful Resources on the Successful Use of Dialogue Tags

From time to time, fiction writers I work with struggle with the delivery of natural-sounding dialogue on the page. The following are resources I share with them, which have helped immensely.

  • “Writing Worksheet Wednesday: Good Dialogue.” EADeverell.com.
    • E.A. Deverell is a writer and blogger whose website hosts an impressive backlog of writing worksheets and craft materials. The checklist on page two of this worksheet provides a helpful rubric for what does and doesn’t work in dialogue.
    • I’ve linked to her landing page above in case you’d like to explore her website. If you simply want the worksheet PDF, click here to download it.
  • “Keep It Simple: Keys to Realistic Dialogue (Parts I and II).” Eleanore Trupkiewicz, WritersDigest.com. 
    • In general, Writer’s Digest is a great resource for aspiring and established novelists alike. Ms. Trupkiewicz’s guest posts cover such dialogue-related topics as punctuation, he said/she said, and overuse of adverbs.
  • “He Said, She Said: Dialog Tags and Using Them Effectively.” D.M. Johnson, Scribophile.com.
    • Ms. Johnson’s article is a good supplement to the ones from Writer’s Digest. She close reads a passage from Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Hills Like White Elephants” to demonstrate proper and poor use of dialogue tags.

Do you have reference materials on writing dialogue that you swear by? Be sure to share them in the comments below!