Have you ever seen a post on Tumblr or Pinterest that says something like “75 words to use instead of ‘said?'” Those posts can be helpful because the general premise is correct. Using “said” over and over is both boring and repetitive. It looks strange on paper. Also, some posts, like this one, can have some really helpful words that indicate emotion like “bellowed.” However, as writers, we should not be afraid of using standard words like “said,” “asked,” and “replied.” There is a reason why those words are the standard. They’re simple, and you can avoid clumsy verbs. You don’t want your work to read like a thesaurus. So, how do we avoid using “said” too much without using awkward words?
This article is part three of a series about starting your own creative writing group/club.
When I first start working with students, they talk about how difficult it is to make the switch from academic to business writing. And that’s true. It is difficult. It feels like the opposite of what we’ve spent years learning. So, I’m here to say that business writing and academic writing don’t need to be antithetical. In fact, my writing has improved since I began applying business methods to both my academic and creative work.
This summer I reread Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. It had been awhile since I’d read them, so there was quite a bit I had forgotten. Somehow, I had completely missed the nuances of Eowyn’s story in my previous readings. There are many reasons to love Eowyn. She is an inherently brave and remarkable …