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The Guardian's got two interesting articles at the moment where they've asked various famouse writers like Margaret Atwood and Neil Gaiman for their writing tips.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/feb/20/ten-rules-for-writing-f...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/feb/20/10-rules-for-writing-fi...

Tags: tips, writing

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sweet! Thanks for posting this :)
"3 Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer 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."

Was anyone else told the exact opposite in school? We were told off for using "said" too much and had to try and come up with loads of odd replacements. It was annoying. I think my English teachers collectively ruined my chances of becoming a writer forever :P
Yeah, we had to do that too, no wonder the stories we wrote were atrocious. We were also told to always include a twist- the sorts of twists 12 year olds are capable of producing are usually pretty groan-worthy.

Vicky Stevenson said:
"3 Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer 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."

Was anyone else told the exact opposite in school? We were told off for using "said" too much and had to try and come up with loads of odd replacements. It was annoying. I think my English teachers collectively ruined my chances of becoming a writer forever :P
"and then i woke up, phew it was all a dream"

Emma Jane Falconer said:
Yeah, we had to do that too, no wonder the stories we wrote were atrocious. We were also told to always include a twist- the sorts of twists 12 year olds are capable of producing are usually pretty groan-worthy.

Vicky Stevenson said:
"3 Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer 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."

Was anyone else told the exact opposite in school? We were told off for using "said" too much and had to try and come up with loads of odd replacements. It was annoying. I think my English teachers collectively ruined my chances of becoming a writer forever :P
Very useful links, thanks very much. I thought this one was a good point:

5 Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.

Exclamation points are a very dangerous thing - very hard to get right, very easy to overuse, at least in my eyes anyway so I try and avoid them entirely and hope for the best.
That's all good advice!

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