I’ve been told that I over-use “said” and should use other words for variation. I’ve read LDS fiction that uses various speech tags. Yet, I’ve read and heard that “said” is the best tag to use because it’s almost invisible to the reader and doesn’t break the flow (the dialogue itself should “show” the mood, etc.). What’s your opinion?
Just because other people do it, doesn’t mean it’s right.
With really good writing, you almost don’t need speech tags because you can tell who’s talking just by the words they use and how they put them together. But we use them anyway because we don’t want the reader to get lost.
You can use “asked.” You can use an occasional “yelled,” “screamed,” or “whispered.” But please, please, please do not use “whimpered,” “simpered,” “laughed,” “teased,” or any of those other types of words. Unless you’re writing a Harlequin Romance. Then I guess you can do it.
If you want to be taken seriously, use “said” as your speech tag 99% of the time and let your dialog or the movements of your characters show their emotions.