Friday, 20 July 2007

'She said'

I am having a real coffee as a reward for walking four dogs in the rain and having to peel off saturated trousers afterwards.

My word count is down as is my confidence which I think (after reading brilliant 'Self-Editing for Fiction Writers and 'Wannabe a Writer') explains why I spend a week removing loads of 'she saids' and replacing them with: 'She squealed, laughed, snapped, growled, spat...' and worse - 'She snapped..crossly,unhappily,vicously...'because I thought saying 'She said' was boring.

I've now gone back and replaced them with, 'She said'.

I think you have to have confidence to allow your reader to use her imagination and not shove everything in her face. Confidence is something lacking in my writing. Tell me thats normal please?

15 comments:

leatherdykeuk said...

Good call. The 'said' word fades into the background. It took me years to realise that using anything else detracted from the prose.

leatherdykeuk said...

Confidence lacking?
Darned write! (sic) I get it a lot.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Everyone goes through a confidence burp every now and then. It's perfectly normal. Ayn Rand called it having a case of the squirms. I get the squirms at least once or twice a year. You'll be fine as long as you don't let them rule you.

:hugs:

KeVin K. said...

My confidence level rises and falls in waves. I not only have no confidence whatsoever in any manuscript I send out the door, I usually hate the thing at that point.

As for dialog tags...
I had an editor at Pocket threaten to drive down to North Carolina and shoot me over:
"I believe that's a fir," he opined.
(He didn't just substitute 'said,' he required the conversation be cut.)

CTaylor said...

Nooooooo! Don't read an editing book until you've finished writing your novel. I made that mistake and it stopped me writing for AGES. Leave the 'how to' books well alone until you've finished your first draft. There's nothing more likely to stop you writing than self-consciousness.

Give yourself 'permission to write rubbish' - it's very freeing and you can polish your words at the end when you start editing.

And yes - I can definitely relate to your comment about confidence levels - mine waver all over the place!

Fionamac said...

'I had an editor at Pocket threaten to drive down to North Carolina and shoot me over:
"I believe that's a fir," he opined.
(He didn't just substitute 'said,' he required the conversation be cut.)' That's so funny Kevin. Thank you for cheering me up!

Cally, You are right, I know it's like picking a scab!

Jen said...

It's so easy to get suckered into thinking that your first draft has to be 'right'. I think that's the major lesson I'm learning at the mo.

It goes against the grain, but just write! I've read your stuff, you're on the right track. Just keep at it - easier said than done but it's truly the only way.

sheepish said...

I know exactly how you feel, I am trying to tell myself just to put words on the page no matter what I think of them. Get the story down then worry about it but as we all know it's easier said than done. I have actually written some words this week so am feeling a bit happier, now I just need to do a blog post!!!!

A. Writer said...

I have 'wobbles' all the time. Sometimes they get so bad I feel like giving up! Keep your chin up and we're all here for you!

hesitant scribe said...

Yes - it's like everyone said - writing is hard and for some of us, confidence is a real issue. I just had to write a whole conference paper on Writer's Block and one of the things I've decided it is caused by is a lack of confidence. I definitely suffer from it. Heaps!

And I'm so glad you replaced the tags with 'She said' ;-)

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Yep. Said, said, said all the way. (Or dialogue tags replaced by actions - that's the other plausible option.)

Lack of confidence completely normal, as everyone else has said. Not doing too well on that front myself at the moment, but I'm sure it will change in due course. Hang in there - and keep writing!

DOT said...

I posted somewhere recently that I had had a crisis of confidence so it is comforting to see that we all go through it at one time or another.

And I totally agree with Cally. The thing to do is just get the book written and then worry about the quality. The fact it is finished, that you have a completed manuscript, must give your confidence a boost and you will be a much better position to edit it objectively - this is my current theory anyway :)

Jane Henry said...

Fiona, if it is any comfort, on the writing course I teach on at the LSJ there is a whole section on dialogue devoted to taking every other dialogue tag out apart from the saids. If you can differentiate your characters voices enough you can even lose the saids - it makes dialogue spark along much more quickly, though you do run the risk of losing the reader.

I think Stephen King might do a bit about using said in On Writing.

That's my main recommned for a writing book anyway!

Sorry have been a bit quiet of late - really busy with work/end of term/getting ready for holidays...

I'm away for two weeks on Friday, so I'll say tara for now.

I'm up to 30 000 words in the wip, which is now with my agent, and I am hoping she likes it...

Nichola said...

'Said' is one of those invisible words. After all, things like "Snapped crossly," are tautological and draw attention to themselves. 'Said' does the job and dialogue tags aren't always necessary anyway. In fact I'd go so far as to say they rarely are.

wordtryst said...

I first saw the advice re 'said' in Stephen King's On Writing. Took me aback after spending a lifetime thinking that using the most descriptive verb was the right thing to do. Ditto the adverb advice. I reread my first manuscript with a gimlet eye for fancy verbs and adverbs and realized that King was right (of course): they weaken the work. Now I mix it up a bit, depending on what I think works best.

I wish I could get off the confidence roller coaster. It's at critical mass right now. That's all I'll say about that.

Kevin, you 'opined'? I haven't transgressed that far, but I think I might have come close a time or two.