Friday, October 15, 2010

She stated, and I changed it

I WAS RECENTLY editing an aspiring novelist who was struggling with attribution. He'd write something like this:

She stated, "You are a real dummy. "

And I'd change it to:

"You are a real dummy," she said.

The word stated is stilted. In most cases, said works fine.

Don't worry; attribution is often a problem for even experienced writers and editors. Where do you put the "he said"?

Then there's the problem with two many "saids." I was listening to a Robert B. Parker novel on CD, and we had nothing but he said, she said.

"I'm an idiot, Molly," Jesse said.

"I agree, Jesse," Molly said.

"So do I," Crow said.

Somehow, it should be possible to attribute the quotes without all of those saids.

But if writing were easy, we all could do it well.

He said.

Contact: I can be reached at or Also, my Twitter handle is EDITORatWORK.

(a book of great stories about the Intimidator)
(the book of great NASCAR stories)

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