Protip for fanfiction writers: if you find yourself fighting canon, ask yourself whether that canon information was delivered by a secondhand source or by a person who could be either lying or uninformed. You’d be amazed how many “canon truths” you can handwave as misinformation then.
You can stop using applications with word count features. You can write notes around your station reminding you that you are not defined by your word count. If you’re concerned in writing more, you need to set out time just for writing. Start blocking the phrase ‘word count’ on your browser. Seriously. If it’s that big an issue, you need to block it out.
I really have not the slightest clue, I’m fiercely sorry, but maybe our followers can help.
We have added definitions of each word and an example sentence. Also, we have omitted hinted and insinuated, as we agree with fellow writers’ suggestions that they are not suitable additions to the list.
Instead of whispered, consider:
- murmured: A soft, indistinct sound made by a person or group of people speaking quietly or at a distance: "Don’t go," he murmured, grabbing her hand as she turned to leave.
- mumbled: Say something indistinctly and quietly, making it difficult for others to hear:"Thanks a lot," he mumbled sarcastically.
- muttered: Say something in a low or barely audible voice, esp. in dissatisfaction or irritation: She muttered to herself all the way down the hall, reciting all her usual complaints.
- breathed: Say something in a quiet voice or whisper: "I love you," she breathed, her eyes full of tears.
- sighed: Emit a long, deep, audible breath expressing sadness, relief, or tiredness; say something in a low or barely audible voice, esp. in sadness or irritation; to say exasperatedly, or all in one breath: "Right," he sighed. “Well, just don’t do anything too stupid.”
- hissed: To utter with a hiss, esp. in instances that include one or more sharp sibilant sounds, as of the letter s: "Just stop," she hissed, her grip on Lisa’s arm tightening.
- mouthed: To form (a word, sound, etc.) with the lips without actually making an utterance: "The baby’s asleep," she mouthed, leading her parents back into the living room.
- uttered: To give audible expression to; speak or pronounce: He uttered a string of barely audible insults.
- intoned: Say or recite with little rise and fall of the pitch of the voice: "I’m not going anywhere," she intoned. He could tell she was exhausted by the pitchless quality of her voice.
- susurrated: (susurration) The indistinct sound of people whispering: The room hummed with the soft susurrus of conversation.
- purred: To utter a low, continuous, murmuring sound expressive of contentment or pleasure, as a cat does: "I know you want me," she purred into his neck, trailing kisses across his collar bone.
- said in an undertone: To speak in a low or subdued tone: "Not now, Jessee," he said in an undertone.
- gasped: Say (something) while catching one’s breath, esp. as a result of strong emotion: She could hardly gasp out an apology.
- said low: (slang) Say something in a quiet voice or whisper: "Plants are more like us than you think," he said low, as if he spoke to the lilies themselves.
- said into [someone’s] ear: Say something in a quiet voice or whisper, esp. near the listener’s ear, in such a way that only they may hear: "Meet me in the parlor," he said into Jane’s ear, and her heart betrayed her with a flutter of excitement.
- said softly: Say something in a quiet voice or whisper: "I’m here now," Usula said softly, brushing a lock of hair from her cheek.
- said under [one’s] breath: (idiom) Say something in a muted voice or whisper: "Over my dead body," Jacob said under his breath.
- said in a hushed tone/in hushed tones: (idiom) Say something in a softened tone, or in a quiet voice or whisper: "Will he make it, Doctor?" Kendraasked in a hushed tone.
Thank you to everyone who reblogged this list to add their opinion. We have, with their permission, included some of these opinions so that you may benefit from their perspective.
memattbe adds: Whispered is the simplest and conveys what you mean by a whisper the best. Maybe murmured would be a good substitute if you just used whispered. Muttered, sighed, hissed, gasped, mouthed, purred, breathed, mumbled all mean things noticeably different than whisper. The said… ones aren’t bad, but one word is better than four.
ankh-the-odd adds:Also, don’t use alternate words for said.
It’s not boring, people’s eyes will just move right over the word said. If you use something else, you draw attention to it, and it messes up the flow of the text completely. You come to the end a bit of dialogue and then think “Woah okay what just happened.” It looks really unprofessional, tbh.
mumblingsage adds: I’ll just add that it’s always good to know a lot of not-quite-alternative words in case you ever think a character whispered, only to find out that they actually were murmuring it. The point is precision.
Or sometimes to avoid repeating words, but in that case you probably shouldn’t have a character performing the same action multiple times in a few paragraphs, or at least from continuing to remind the reader they’re doing it (if you state that a character is whispering, the reader will assume they continue whispering throughout the scene, until told otherwise).
And, um, if you thought your character was whispering and they’re actually susurrating…you might want to get that checked out.
There was another truly wonderful criticism of this list that is quite long, so we are including it in a Read More. Click below to see bobbyisrightthereyaidjit's critique.
Anonymous asked: Sorry if you’ve touched on this before, but I’ve read conflicting opinions about the use of “said.” Some articles/people swear that there is no need to change up “said,” and that doing so distracts from the dialogue. Others believe using more descriptive tags to replace “said” is the way to go. To use “said” or not to use “said”?
I think you’re looking for these articles:
- The Great Said Debate (this one especially, I think)
- He Said, She Said, Who Said What?
- Confession: I abuse dialogue tags like there’s no tomorrow.
- And here’s our page on dialogue.
Thank you for your question!
I honestly didn’t even realize I did it until I read this article (thank you writeworld for the link). I read the article, knowing that I probably use things like cried or exclaimed more than is generally accepted. When I finished the article, I flipped over to the novel I’m working on, and found the word exclaimed no less than 4 times on one page (and I hadn’t even finished writing the page!). Then I read the last few pages and found announced, called, cried, retorted, replied, grinned, and a truly ridiculous number ofexclaimed and 6 instances of the adverbial dialogue tags (along with several grey areas).
Help! I’m trapped in a cycle of dialogue abuse!
First of all:
(Thank you to peachtoadstool [this link is NSFW] for pointing out that “your” should be “you’re” in this gif. You’re a peach!)
Secondly, for us, the easiest way to stop overusing said bookisms is this:
- Take every instance of a dialogue tag that isn’t said or asked and change them to said (for statements) or asked (for questions). No adverbs after the dialogue tags either, just said or asked.
- Where that looks weird, like when a character is shouting or sobbing or whispering, get rid of the dialogue tag altogether and make it obvious with description who is speaking without coming out and saying “Karen said” or “Danny asked”.
- Instead of “Karen said”, try something like this: “I want you out of this house! I can’t stand the sight of you!” Karen paced around the kitchen, that familiar vein throbbing in her forehead, and I worried that she might start hurling knives.
- Instead of “Danny asked”, try: Hannah tried to slip out of bed without waking Danny, but he grabbed her hand. “Where are you going?” It was his sleepy voice, breathy and thick, with a slur only she could understand.
- At least once in every run of dialogue, try to find a place where a line can stand alone without any dialogue tag or exposition around it.
- If you’ve done all of these and you now feel like there are too many saids and asks, read this article and this article, and, if you still want to, go back and sprinkle in a few more colorful dialogue tags or add adverbs.
We hope that helps!
Having trouble finding synonyms for ‘white’, ‘black’, ‘tan’, etc? Have any clear idea what tone you’re going for? Here’s some web pages for skin tone description and references:
Handy Words for Skin Tone (Includes palettes and comparisons)
More Tone Synonyms w/ Pictures
7 Offensive Mistakes Writers Make (includes more than just skin color)
So you want to make an OC?: A Masterpost of Ways to Create, Develop, and Make Good OCs!
i made this masterpost in hopes that it helps you in making your own OCs ah;; it can also apply to developing RP characters i suppose! if you’d like to add more resources then go for it sugar pea (´ヮ`)!
How to Write Better OCs:
- basic tips on how to make your oc even better
- tragic backstory? learn how to write one/make yours great
- writing specific characters
- a wordier, great guide on how to develop your character
- kick out those vague descriptions and make them AWESOME
- how to actually make an OC
- Q&A (to develop characters)
- more Q&As
- giving your character a backstory
- how to write an attractive character
- adding more racial diversity
- avoiding tokenism, AKA, how to add diversity to your cast not just because you “need” it
- writing sexuality and gender expression (doesnt include non binary, if you have a good ref to that, please add on!)
- masterpost on writing more diversity into your story
- cultures of the world
- guides to drawing different ethnicities (not just a great art reference, but also really helpful in appearance descriptions!)
Mary Sue/Gary Stu
- Test to see if your character is a Sue
- Explains subdivisions of Sues/Stus
- Powerful Characters Don’t Have to Be Sues
- villain generator
- need an evil sounding name for your evil character? bam
- villain archetypes
- what’s your villain’s motive for being a villain?
- character perceptions (What your character thinks of themselves and what others think of them)
- how to write strong relationships between two characters
- 8 ways to write better characters and develop their relationships with others
- OCxLove Interest Handbook
- develop your couple with good ol’ Q&A!
- how to write realistic relationships
- how to write relatives for your characters (this is more OC related to a canon character, but will help in writing family members in general)
- 12 common archetypes
- 8 archetypes for male/female characters
- female archetypes (goes pretty indepth from two main categories)
- a list of archetypes
- tips for better design
- basic appearance generator
- pinterest board for character design (includes NSFW and images of skeletons/exposed muscle (?) so tread carefully!)
- clothing ref masterpost
- give your character better powers
- a list of professions
- proactive vs reactive characters
- positive and negative traits
- interest generator
- skills generator
- motivation generator
- 123 ideas for character flaws
- list of phobias
again, this is to help inspire you or help establish your OCs! i hope you get a lot of info and help from this ahh ( ´ ▽ ` )ﾉ
Hey, guys! I’m J, and I’ll be helping contribute to The Writers’ Helpers during the onslaught of NaNoWriMo this month!
Right now, I’ll be posting a series of links / helpful advice related to specific GENRES. Today, we’ll be covering ROMANCE. (Wiki article definition)
(REMEMBER: These are suggestions/advice. You’re not required to follow any instructions to the ‘T’ - this is your story and belongs to no one else! Write what you want to write! :D)
TVTropes Links:Love Interests
Love Tropes - Plethora of links on the right side of the page (Beware! You may spend a lot of time on here!)
NOTE: This site covers tons of things regarding romance in novels, including Writing Romantic Dialogue, Writing Emotional Scenes Without Melodrama, Character Professions in Romance, tips on writing Love Scenes, and covers many of the subgenres, including Fantasy, Time-Travel, and Comedy.
Also includes interviews!
Seven Tips on How To Start A Romance Novel - Also a good source for novels without romance.
Imagine Your OTP - A good tumblr blog for ideas involving your romantic couple! Involves fluff, NSFW situations, and even sad scenarios. Trigger warnings marked as well.
These are just a few of many more. If anyone wants to share any links / suggestions, do please submit~!