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‘He said, She said’, I animatedly called out!

March 27, 2010

Not all that long ago, I read somewhere that writers of fiction tend to sway towards avoiding using ‘said’, whilst editors of today detest anything other than the ‘said’ usage. Yes, numerous novelists often like to do something more interesting and unique within their dialogue than to simply use ‘said’, and many editors think badly of writers who go beyond the expected ‘said’ realm. Yes, that is what I read and such is ‘said’, ‘said’, ‘said’.

Without digging deep to figure out the reasons for each side in this ‘said’ debate, let me simply state that I think that ‘said’ stuff should be a personal choice thing. If it flows naturally, so be it. If it reads right, what could be wrong with it? If our readers enjoy it, that’s the main thing. When writing dialogue, sometimes ‘said’ feels right, but other times, ‘said’ just will not do. “Said’ is often simply not quite enough. There are times when the dialogue begs for far more than ‘he said’, ‘she said’ and so on with endless ‘saids’. “Think out of the box”, I emphatically shout! Yes, that’s just what I ‘said’, but with some emphasis. If my muse, my characters, and my story tell me to go beyond simply the ‘saids’, then I shall strike out afar from ‘said’. I shall be free from just ‘saids’!

Besides, when it comes to trusting the editor over trusting the artist (writer/novelist), I might be inclined to trust the artist, because, dare I ‘say’ that I once heard something of a hint that editors edit because they can’t make a living writing their own works. I understand that most editors would rather be writing their own stuff. Of course, there are fine editors out there who might be right to exchange a few ‘saids’ for too much else. But, there are also editors who wrongly inject their personal style or preferences into that which they are hired to simply edit, and might just stuff in a few ‘saids’ instead of something that was already working just fine as it was, even with some lively flourishes beyond that land of simply ‘saids’.

Technical correctness editing is correct, but not any editing nonsense that injures the personal style, artistic integrity and free will of the artist novelist. A novelist must be free to choose other than ‘said’ as often as is wished, in particular; and in general, when I read a novelist’s works, I want to read THEIR words, and not the writing style of their editor. That ‘said, you are free to disagree, but I ‘say’ that it’s all artistic preference anyway.

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