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dialogI was working on revisions for a story after reading several critiques and got to thinking. How do most writers handle dialogue tags? Is it supposed to be “What a beautiful day, ” said Tina. OR “What a beautiful day,” Tina said. So I decided to check some picture books and chapter books to see how these authors handled the matter.


Picture Books:

“Ooh! Ooh! I know,” said Cutesy. “Let’s give ourselves makeovers!”  ~ Oh, Nuts! by Tammi Sauer, 2012

“When I grow up, I am going to marry chocolate cake!” said Betty Bunny. ~ Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake by Michael B. Kaplan, 2011

“Mmmmm!” said Goldilocks. “That chocolate pudding smells delicious…” ~ Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems, 2012

“Are you going to sneeze?” said his mother. ~ Chu’s Day by Neil Gaiman, 2013

Chapter Books:

“Oh my gosh!” Annie whispered with delight.
“Yea, I do. They’re really cute,” said Jack, laughing. ~ A Perfect Time for Pandas by Mary Pope Osborne, 2012

“Everything all right, Geronimeister?” asked Thea.
“Uncle Trap, you really are a hero!” Ben exclaimed. ~ by Geronimo Stilton, 2000

“But I want an Oompa-Loompa!” screamed Veruca.
“Off we go!” cried Mr. Wonka. ~ Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, 1964

So from these examples, it looks like most picture books use the word “said” first in the dialogue tag, but in chapter books, it could go either way.  What do you think? How do you write your dialogue tags? Thanks in advance for your advice!



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