In my editing journey, here is something I have seen often:
- Jane shrugged and told him, “I can’t go.”
- She looked at him and said, “I don’t trust you.”
- He raised his hand and asked, “When it the homework due?”
But did you know actions can often stand on their own in dialogue?
Dialogue can be represented by both a dialogue tag or an action. However, the action preceding or following the dialogue must point to the speaker.
- Jane shrugged. “I can’t go.”
- She looked at him. “I don’t trust you.”
- He raised his hand. “When is the homework due?”
BONUS: “Where did they go?” The officer lowered his pistol, sweat on his brow. “Did we lose them?”
A quick, easy change that can make a world of difference in the fluidity of your dialogue.