Viva la Said!

Said is not dead. When I should be writing, I often find myself searching Pinterest for decadent recipes I will never cook and craft projects I will never make. Since my day job is teaching, I often get sucked into the cutesy world of the Education boards, and I keep seeing these lists of synonyms for said. They all have a cute title that reads: Said Is Dead. (Imagine there is a cute picture here. I am not risking the wrath of a hard-working teacher by criticizing their work.) Let me repeat it. Contrary to what these popular pins keep claiming, said is not dead. It is alive and well and loved by 99.9999% of readers. Sometimes we – and by we, I include myself, friends – are so determined to convey every miniscule facet of our story that we think we must paint the very tone of the dialogue, the exact volume, pronunciation. It’s the same thing that drives us to describe every twitch of muscle in a fight scene, or every article of clothing a person wears. And as vividly as we see it, it actually has the opposite effect on readers. Seriously, tell me how this reads: “I’m going to kill you,” Mary hissed. “Not if I can help it!” John asserted. “Oh, just watch me!” Mary rebutted. “Nuh-uh!” John squealed. “By my grandfather’s kilt, I will!” Mary uttered. And that was with no adverbs! It’s even worse when Mary hisses angrily and John asserts boldly. Those words are so distracting! Not to mention all! The! Exclamation! Points! I would rather watch the Kardashians than read...