I’d like to feature author Marcha Fox, today. The Rave Reviews Book Club and I would like to shine a spotlight on this talented writer, and also mine her writerly knowledge. Every writer who includes spoken dialog must come to grips with how often to use the word “said.” To be sure, it’s a bland word, but the opposite is to write horrific things like:
“No, way!” Biff ejaculated.
“Yes, way!” Joe-Bob blurted.
“Get out of here!” Biff riposted.
“Uh-uh,” Joe-Bob negated.
“You sure?” Biff asked.
Here to save us is the wise Marcha Fox. Help, Marcha!
-Guy Worthey, 12 October 2018
154 Ways to Say “Said” Instead of “Said”
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away — in other words, back in 1977 — my mom gave me a copy of the Readers Digest “Family Word Finder.” As you’ve probably figured out from its title, it’s a thesaurus and its age certainly a witness to how long I’ve been writing. I recently had that book out and discovered a typewritten (yes, typed, like in manual typewriter) list. It contained alternatives (but not quite synonyms) for using “said” in dialog. (BTW, I wrote my first novel on a manual typewriter.)
I remember having a lot of fun creating this list. However, there’s a caveat, especially if you’re addicted to words like myself. Granted, using these appropriately can contribute to imagery, emotion, and clarity. However, using them too frequently can be as grating as having “he said” or “she said” on every line.
In other words, like adding herbs and spices to a soup kettle, use them sparingly, as flavor enhancers, if you will. Be subtle, not glaring, which makes them all the more powerful. Used improperly or excessively, you could wind up with the literary equivalent of adding cinnamon instead of cumin to your chili. Properly administered, they’ll help create dynamic and convincing dialog, a critical component of outstanding fiction.
Without further ado, here we go:
- blurted out
- burst out
- pointed out
Marcha Fox is an avid science fiction fan and author with over 20 years’ experience in positions ranging from technical writer to engineer to manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in physics, which was but a prelude to her interest in the unexplained mysteries of the cosmos. Inspired by science fiction to pursue a career in a technical field, she hopes to instill the same fascination in young readers, while providing older ones with classic hard science fiction.
Born in Peekskill, New York she has lived in California, Utah and Texas in the course of raising her family, which included fifteen years as a stay-at-home mom before returning to college in her 30s to obtain her degree, a feat accomplished while she still had six children at home. All are now grown with children of their own providing her with 17 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren so far. Never at a loss for something to do, besides writing she’ a professional astrologer who enjoys gardening, her two Bengal cats and a sassy tuxedo, and keeping up with family.
THE TERRA DEBACLE: PRISONERS AT AREA 51
Thyron is a flora peda telepathis (telepathic walking plant) from the planet Sapphira on an adventure gone terribly wrong. The bad decision of a human girl and her maniacal robot companion has stranded them on Earth, where his botanical cousins face horrible fates such as consumption by herbivores, incineration, and brutal annihilation for use as building material.
Following capture, Thyron is transported to Area 51, where NASA exobiologist, Gabe Greenley, studies his every move, ecstatic with the opportunity to examine an entirely new lifeform. In due course, the scientist makes a ground-breaking discovery, distressed by the fact he can never share it due to his security oaths and research agreement. Eventually, he’s confronted by an even worse ethical dilemma that forces him to make a treasonous and potentially deadly decision.
Will Thyron’s psychic powers be enough to save him? Is Greenley friend or foe? Or does the exobiologist have a few secrets of his own?
Find out in this unique combination of hard science fiction, suspense, and a touch of humor populated with memorable characters in a setting loaded with intrigue. Unexpected plot twists coupled with a unique ending make this an unforgettable tale whether you’re a science fiction fan, botanist, UFO aficionado, or simply enjoy a good story.
How to get in touch with Marcha:
p.s., Read her books. They’re super. -GW