Welcome to Rehab for Roleplayers, a series of articles aimed at helping roleplayers more successfully make the transition into writing fiction.
Part 6 "Where's Ruth?" Tom Cried, Ruthlessly
Throughout the rest of this series I've explored various 'roleplay-isms' which are fine in the RP environment but don't automatically translate well into fiction. This article deals specifically with 'attributions', which are the 'he said' / 'she said' part of dialogue.
It's a generally accepted practise in fiction writing to keep attributions in dialogue simple and to not overdo it with synonyms for the word 'said', like 'shouted', 'whined' and 'snarled'. This includes, for the purposes of this article, the addition of adverbs and other modifiers (words and phrases which 'flavour' a noun or verb) to 'said' - like 'he said wistfully', 'she said with a bitter tone'.
Among editors, the overuse of modifiers in attribution is known as "S.S." or "Synonym Syndrome" and is the cause of