A Willful Woman…

Thoughts about books from a romance addict.

Dialogue Tags, she listed

on April 20, 2014

Author Ros Clarke and I are duking it out over dialogue tags: she claims Lynne Graham is the reigning champion and provides some compelling evidence. I say it’s at best a draw. From just the first chapter of Gold Ring of Betrayal by Michelle Reid, we have:

‘You know what happened, you evil monster!’ she seared at him.
‘Sara,’ he prompted quietly.
It was quietly spoken, almost conversationally so
‘Drink,’ he commanded.
Drink,’ he repeated. ‘You look like death,’ he added bluntly.
‘That’s better,’ he murmured,
‘Is this your doing?’ she demanded,
I hate you,’ she said
If anything happens to my baby then watch your back, Nicolas,’ she warned him.
‘Tell me what happened,’ he instructed quietly
‘Lia has been kidnapped!’ she had screamed
‘I did not take your child,’ he stated.
‘Yes, you did.’ She said it without a hint of uncertainty
‘Work on it,’ he suggested
‘God, you make me sick,’ she breathed
‘Putting on a show for the punters,’ she derided.
They are there to keep the media at bay,’ he then flatly explained.
Why, Nicolas?’ she cried in wretched despair
‘I won’t repeat this again,’ he clipped.
‘S-someone did,’ she choked
‘Come and sit down again before you drop,’ he suggested.
‘I don’t want to sit down!’ she angrily refused.
‘A-about an hour after they t-took her,’ she whispered,
You want to know if they were Sicilian,’ she choked.
‘Male or female?’ he persisted.
‘M-male,’ she breathed.
Exactly, Sara,’ he insisted
‘We h-have your ch-hild,” ’she quoted
‘What time is it?’ she asked jerkily.
‘Shush. Not yet six,’ he murmured calmingly.
‘Oh, God,’ she groaned
‘Afraid someone may recognise the voice?’ she seared at him
‘Leave it all to you, you mean,’ she surmised from that.
‘Concorde,’ he drawled—then added tauntingly,
‘Take care, wife,’ be gritted,
‘And you take care,’ she threw shakily back,
Or so help me, Nicolas,’ she vowed
My home,’ he listed
And for whose sake?’ she derided him scathingly
‘I know that,’ he answered stiltedly.
‘The child was taken because she bears my name,’ he stated coldly.
‘Oh, God,’ she choked

How things are “said” throughout the book:

“without a hint of uncertainty,” “quietly,” (4x) “accusingly,” “flatly,” “wearily,” “with a quiet confidence,” “jerkily,” “anxiously,” “tensely,” “cooly,” “grimly,” (7x) “shortly,” “in scathing disbelief,” “drily,” “gruffly,” (4x) “so affectionately,” “thickly,” (3x) “derisively,” “scathingly,” “curtly,” (2x) “with a small, bitter, wry smile,” “silkily,” “in flat-voiced refusal,” “tersely,” “determinedly,” “very softly,” “defensively,” (2x) “heavily,” “tightly,” “slyly,” “lightly,” “huskily,” (2x) “warily,” “a trifle curiously,” “softly,” (2x) “doubtfully,” “roughly,” “quite cooly,” “awkwardly,” “urgently,” “hoarsely,” “painfully,” “wryly,” “bitterly,” “tightly,” “in surprise,” “dully,” “gently,”

Random dialogue tags I found while looking up “saids” — I undoubtedly missed many:

“she flared,” “she challenged,” “he denied,” “he ordained,” “he snapped,” “she flashed,” “she spat at him,” “she hissed,” “Sara maintained,” “he sighed,” “he protested,” “he observed,” “she concluded,” “she challenged,” “he explained,” “Lia murmured,” “she prompted,” “he qualified,” “Sara suggested,” “she choked,” “he soothed quietly,” “he rasped,” “he added bleakly,” “he vowed,” “he told her somberly,” “he gritted,” “Sara put in soothingly,” “he rasped,” “she pleaded,” “he exploded,” “he bit the word out bitterly,” “she mocked,” and of course the classics, “he grated” and “he snarled.”

Perhaps the only conclusion to draw here is that Michelle Reid and Lynne Graham were both terribly fond of each other’s work. Or maybe twins.

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6 responses to “Dialogue Tags, she listed

  1. Miss Bates says:

    MissB must read both these authors … her yen for over-the-top-ness can finally find fulfillment.

  2. Ros says:

    For comparison, all the tags from ch1 of The Pregnancy Shock:
    Alexei drawled.
    Calisto raged.
    Calisto prompted impatiently.
    Calisto demanded.
    Alexei volunteered.
    Calisto remarked softly.
    Hilary scolded.
    the blonde woman declared ruefully.
    Billie told the woman.
    Billie cut in.
    Hilary reasoned soothingly.
    Hilary pointed out firmly.
    Hilary remarked wryly.
    Billie said sharply
    the doctor questioned
    the doctor added
    she whispered chokily
    her aunt prompted
    Hilary queried
    her niece reminded her
    Alexei repeated deadpan
    she argued
    he told her with a shrug
    she asked
    she asked
    Lauren volunteered with a grimace
    Billie asked
    Lauren replied
    he asked
    she told him innocently
    Alexei incised harshly
    Alexei pressed
    she asked
    she answered stiffly
    she protested
    Alexei declared
    Alexei said drily
    she shrieked
    Alexei drawled silkily
    Billie launched back at him in a positive rage
    Alexei derided
    Billie snapped
    Alexei countered with amusement
    Billie flung

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