cennis asked: I keep seeing different opinions on the use of ‘said’. Some people say that said should be substituted for other words, like ‘argued’ or ‘murmured’, etc. But I’ve seen other people saying that publishers actually dislike that and prefer said to be used more. As a published author, which have you found is truer?
“Said’s” are invisible. They vanish onto the page. The eye barely sees them — they become one with the inverted commas that indicate that something is being said. They’re the arrows on the speech balloons that show you who’s saying what. Lots of authors, when they start out, remember from school that you shouldn’t repeat words too much, and are careful to replace each “said” with “growled” “uttered” “yelped’ “hissed” “exclaimed” “asseverated” “muttered” “affirmed” and so on, and cannot work out why people dismiss the writing as amateurish. Use them, but use them sparingly. It’s like salt in a dish. Too much and it’s all you taste.
THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS!!!!!!!!! When my writing teacher told our class this, there were people who just found the idea of only ever using said unacceptable. WHY? That’s what you’re supposed to write. Look at any great piece of writing and you will see a billion “saids” with very few filler words replacing that said. THERE’S A REASON AND THAT’S IT^^^^^^RIGHT UP THERE.