reading

Y is for Yelp and Other Sounds Characters Make

Y is for yelp and other sounds characters make. Other sounds include, but are not limited to: squeal, squeak, grunt, bark, snarl,

Hear Me Snarl

growl, hiss and whimper.

One of my favorite writers, Anne Bishop, is particularly prone to making her characters snarl, growl and whimper. On rare occasions it annoys me.

But other writers, ones I like less, have their characters grunt and growl their way through the page. It is beyond annoying, and may lead to me putting the book down. It’s just so irritating – no one grunts/growls/barks every sentence they say. And if they do, there is still no need to put these tags in every other bit of dialogue.

Also, sometimes even with the dialogue tag, I cannot hear the sentence as a grown/grunt/whimper.

Does this annoy you? And, whether it does or doesn’t, can you always hear the sound in the dialogue?

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16 thoughts on “Y is for Yelp and Other Sounds Characters Make

  1. Yes to your first question. No, to your second, and it doesn’t have to be that way.
    I think it was Elmore Leonard that said something like never use anything but “said” to carry dialogue, and I agree with that for the most part…but then, I am not such the mature writer that I don’t feel the need for a “hissed” or a “growled” on occasion!

  2. I feel that a lot of dialog tags means that the writing is not strong enough to carry the meaning without them. It’s hard to break the habit, though! Now I have to go read Anne Bishop again and try to spot the tags. 🙂

  3. It annoys me if it’s repetitive. Sometimes I can hear it and sometimes not. I read you’re supposed to use “said” all the time, but that doesn’t always fit the situation. I’m okay with other tags as long as it’s not overdone.

  4. I try to use said, or just use an action tag instead. The words of the dialogue should convey the ‘snarl/ yelp’ unless we’re writing children’s fiction.

  5. I totally agree with this statement ‘there is still no need to put these tags in every other bit of dialogue.’ Dialogue tags are not always necessary or should not be, what the character is saying should illustrate the way they are saying it.

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