The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writing sticking his nose in. But “said” is far less intrusive than “grumbled,” “gasped,” “cautioned,” “lied.” I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with “she asseverated,” and had to stop reading and go to the dictionary.

From Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing.




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3 Responses to Dialogue

  1. zibilee says:

    I sometimes like it when words other than “said” are used, but I may be in the minority here! Thanks for sharing this with us!

    • Vasilly says:

      H, when I first read this passage, I had to laugh! Leonard is so cocky. I hate it when said is used over and over again. It’s so annoying.

  2. I love the idea that the verb is the writer sticking his (or her) nose in! I also like words other than said, although I think I’d draw the line at asseverated.

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