As a writer, I think I’m always searching for another word to substitute for ‘said.’ He said, she said, sounds fine in an expression, but not when you’re writing a novel where you want the words like said to support the dialog, not distract from it.
When I write my first couple of drafts, I don’t stress too much about things like this. I’m more of a get it all out in one big push and then polish it up later. This is why so much of my craft as a writer is in the editing process. But I often find myself sitting at my table, pondering which ‘said substitute’ would enhance the text best.
So I wonder … am I the only one who has this issue? Probably not. With that in mind, I started to compile the list below:
A few said substitutes:
Asked Inquired Answered Replied Confessed
Explained Told Retorted Added
Remarked Repeated Suggested
Proclaimed Promised Informed Insisted Shot back
Murmured Mumbled Muttered Whispered Uttered
Wept Wailed Whined Sobbed Lamented Whimpered
Demanded Declared Alleged
Yelled Called Screamed Roared Shouted Shrieked
Swore Thundered Told Off
Choked Out Blurted Out Spat Out Cried Out
Laughed Squealed Joked Rejoiced Teased
Grumbled Moaned Hissed Complained
Announced Proclaimed Declared
Noted Observed Offered
Maybe it’s just how I talk, but I’ll also write things like:
“You don’t know what you’re doing,” she frowned as she menacingly wagged her finger in his direction.
Technically speaking, you can’t frown a word, but it’s implied that she said it with a frown. The implication is strong enough that I think it’s a valid sentence. With that in mind, you could also add things like smiled and smirked to the list as well as frowned.