Thoughts On: Eight Grade Bites (Dialogue Tags)

I been laying this off, but it time to review a favorite of mine: Eight Grade Bites by Heather Brewer.

Reading it for the second time was actually better than reading it the first. I guess my tastes shifted, or it appealed to my writer's eye. Or it must just be my personal biases.

Now, the thing that popped out in the narrative the most was the lack of dialogue tags. And that's good.

You see, I have a peeve against showy dialogue tags, when authors use "said bookisms" and "Tom Swifties" too many times. For example, she mused, he proclaimed coldly, he murmured, he gasped loudly...Showy words.

It's quite prominent in some books. For example, it kind of hampered my enjoyment of the Nicolas Flamel series. The reason it bothers me is because I notice it, and it interrupts the flow. A few "said
 replacements are okay, but said should be cherish for its low key status and the fact that it blends in.

Instead of using dialogue tags to indicate the speaker, the author pairs her dialogue up with character actions and expressions in a way that it isn't confusing, and that it blends into the narrative.  For example (this is for review and educational purposes):

[...]Henry resorted to nudging him and pointing. "How's the new teacher anyway?"
 Vlad shrugged. "He's okay."
See? No need of said or asked. It show how in lots of cases, the dialogue tags don't need to convey any information. The narrative can show it. What's best about it is that it didn't bog down the narrative much.

For the couple of days after finishing the book, I noticed that I started dropping tags. She influenced my style. It seems to revert, but the impact is still there. Dialogue tags are still useful, to break things up and increase the pace (even Brewer used some once in awhile) but now the whole repetition element of the words "said" and "asked" won't be a problem.

I'm thinking of doing this as a little series. I'll cover conflict in the future, along with Otis Otis.

I'll promise more about me soon!

EDIT: On another note, I edited this a few times to revise. I should really look it over and put more content before posting.