What is a dialogue tag?
Right way: “I can’t believe you did that,” said Jane.
Examples of dialogue tags: said, screamed, screeched, bellowed etc…
I read a lot of indie writers, and I’ve noticed a trend that runs through them. People aren’t sure how to use dialogue/action tags. They get them confused most the time. I used to be the same way!
Wrong way: “I can’t believe you did that.” Said Jane
I wrote this way forever and had no clue it was wrong! Whenever you use a dialogue tag you want to remove the period and add a comma (unless it’s a !!!! or a ????) and make sure you don’t capitalize your tag.
What is an action tag?
Example: “I can’t believe you did that.” She frowned and crossed her arms.
With an action tag the character does something. With an action tag you always use a period in the dialogue and capitalize your tag.
Problem with tags
From what I’ve read on the internet overusing words like (screeched, hissed, bellowed etc) is annoying. There is NOTHING wrong with using the word said. In fact readers overlook it. You don’t always want your character saying: “I’m clearly yelling!” she yelled loudly. It’s adding something you don’t need.
Hope you find my tips helpful!