Ian D Scofield, Writer

Fantasy/Science Fiction/Thriller and Freelance

Category: Tips/Websites (Page 1 of 3)

Said Alternatives

Get Rid Of Said

Recently I have been far more active on Scribophile than I have been in a while. In fact, my level went up to Typesetter. Throughout my writing, I try to keep it changed up and have a variety of words. One of the most challenging words I have encountered is said. He said/she said.

I was reading someone’s piece on Scribophile and almost every single time there was dialogue contained said. It made it hard to properly engage with the story because I could only guess at how people were saying each piece. Being a culprit of this myself, I of course provided feedback that he should try to show us how each character is speaking.

But what words do you use instead of said? It all depends. You want to find words that convey the conversation. Here are a few that might come to mind:

  • Whispered
  • Asked
  • Answered
  • Responded
  • Began

These five are all better words than said but at the same time, they are all words that appear frequently, especially the top three.

Let’s get a little more creative than that. One of my favorite replacements for said is “bellowed” because it can be so versatile depending on the character speaking. It can be a little overused though. Here are some creative word choices for said.

  • Interjected
  • Agonized
  • Inquired
  • Prodded
  • Spat
  • Spluttered
  • Countered
  • Consoled
  • Declared
  • Jabbered
  • Justified

Now that I have given you some more ideas, let’s talk about two more important items to keep in mind when it comes to dialogue tags. First, remember to be creative and stay to the nature of your story. Not every dialogue word has one meaning. You can use them versatilely in a story for multiple meanings.

A good example of this is “shouted”. Depending on how you use the word, shouted could mean excitement, anger, or even sadness. Context is key.

The second point that I want to bring up is dialogue tags are not always needed. Dialogue tags serve a purpose from time to time but you should use them with discretion in mind. Most dialogue speaks for itself.

“Get out of here you god damn roach.”

That sentence is a good example of where you could go without a dialogue tag if you wanted to. Context permitted, you wouldn’t need it at all.

Take all of this to mind and keep an eye out for more writing tips and education. I am going to try and put out short articles like this once a week or once every other week. Today I submitted a short story to another contest. Once the contest winners have been announced I will post a really great story that is related to both Purple Fire and writer’s block.

Calligraphr: Turn Your Handwriting Into a Font

As a writer I spend a lot of time typing on the computer and I like to break up the monotony by changing up the font.  While I can’t deliver most orders in handwriting fonts, I have a special attraction to writing with handwritten fonts.  One thing that I thought would always be cool would be to have my handwriting turned into a font.  In the past though, they used to charge for such as service and that was frustrating.  Now you have an option, Calligraphr.

Calligraphr is a website that allows you to write on a piece of paper then scan it into the computer.  Once scanned into the computer, your handwriting can quickly become a font.  The website can automatically convert your handwriting with no additional work needed by you.  I saw this and had to try it.  On the same day I found out about the website, I created an account and started to make my handwriting a font.

My first try was not that impressive.  It came out looking all uneven with sizes not matching.  Then I realized that it was because the printer printed the lines on the boxes haphazardly.  Now I went through and redid the writing and subscribed to a premium account temporarily.  This allowed me to add more characters and to edit them once I uploaded them.  My font is now nice enough that I can read it easily on the computer.

Here is a sample of it:

Calligraphr Sample

I am not getting paid to talk about Calligraphr so when I say that I have really enjoyed it as a fun writing tool, you can take my word.  Head on over and try making your own font.  With a little bit of extra work you can even make a really nice font for free without having to subscribe.  I just wanted to save some time and make my font extra nice.

Why Writers Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Other Writers

One question that I get asked quite a lot is: are you jealous/afraid/hostile towards other writers?  With competition that goes on in other industries and in other hobbies, it is a reasonable question.  My answer is no, I am not.

I myself write because I find it fun.  Both my professional writing and hobby writing are all derived from the fact that I find the writing process challenging but at the same time, it is an escape from stress and anxiety.  If I am doing this for fun, why should I find anyone else a threat to my writing?

At the same time, I acknowledge that my professional writing is a business and I do have to attract clients to my services.  But that doesn’t mean I am competitive.  Every writer has their own niches that they work in.  I am upfront with clients when I don’t believe I can complete the work that they need.

When it comes to my fiction writing, I also believe that everyone has their own niche.  While one person may write about a magical kingdom, it won’t be the same as someone else’s kingdom.  Even if some of the ideas are similar.  This is because every person’s characters develop differently and are unique.

I encourage everyone who wants to write to take up the hobby.  It is a great way to learn more about yourself and to improve your general writing ability.  My love of writing has gotten me jobs but it has also allowed me to take on additional tasks at work such as report reviewing.

Do you want to take up writing?  Find a pen and paper, or a keyboard, and start writing today!

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