"Said? What a boring word!" Sally exclaimed, crossing her arms. "I mean, seriously, who uses said anymore?"
"Actually," Joe interjected, "Said is one of words that's almost impossible to overuse."
"Impossible to overuse? You've got to be kidding me," she disagreed. "Everyone uses it!"
"Exactly," he asserted. "When people see the word 'said', their eyes pass right over it. It's one of those 'invisible words' of the English language. Most of the time they don't even notice the word. However, whenever you use a substitute word, like 'insisted' or 'mentioned', it pulls the reader out of the story."
"But what do you do if you are overusing 'said'?" she wailed. "You can't just go 'he said, she said, they said' over and over!"
"Well," he reasoned. "You could always try cutting the word out altogether, using it only when necessary to indicate who is speaking."
"Now you've got it."
Now, I admit, I'm horribly guilty of using words to substitute 'said', and for adding descriptors to the term (like, 'said quietly' or 'said viciously'), but I've noticed that most editors for professional writers absolutely -hate- when people write like that. When I started editing other people's work, I noticed it more, and it really does make a difference. Now, I'm not saying that you should never use what is called a 'said bookism', but I'd suggest to do so sparingly, or else you end up with something like the above.
This isn't because of anything I've read on here, mind you. It's just a trend I've been noticing, and it's been on my mind lately.
-rushes back to her newbie corner-