He Exclaimed, She Exclaimed

I’ve always found it interesting how certain things stay with you. One moment, one word, can impact the rest of your life, but you wouldn’t know it at the time. Twenty years later, however, and you find yourself still constantly thinking back to that moment or word.

One of my moments goes all the way back to second grade. We were learning about writing, and our teacher told us, “When you write dialogue, think of other words to use besides ‘said.’ ‘Said’ is okay to use occasionally, but use other words like ‘exclaimed’ or ‘shouted’ or ‘yelped.'” That really stayed with me, even though at the time, I had no idea that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.

Last night, I was working on the second chapter of the third Cemetery Tours novel, or as it shall henceforth be called, CT3, and I found myself thinking back to that day in second grade. I wonder, had I been absent that day, would I be a completely different writer? Would I be a ‘said’ abuser? I like to think I wouldn’t be. I hope I’ve read enough books and have enough common sense to realize, hey! Saying ‘said’ multiple times in one chapter is a drag! But you never know. There were a lot of things I didn’t figure out until I was too old to not know better. For example, throughout my entire childhood, I was fully convinced that diamonds and gemstones came out of the ground looking like they do in jewelry. For the record, I blame that one on Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

I’m having a lot of fun writing CT3, as well as continuing to develop the first book in a new series. I’m also getting a lot of positive feedback on Between Worlds, which comes as a huge relief. Well, not relief exactly. I knew I really liked the book. I’m just glad that other people like it too! I was afraid people wouldn’t think it was as good as the first one. Maybe I’m not supposed to admit that to potential readers, but I figure since people seem to really like it, then I’m okay.

Talk to y’all later!

7 thoughts on “He Exclaimed, She Exclaimed

  1. I completely agree that there are things that can stick to you for a lifetime. My music teacher always praised my singing and today this gives me the confidence to start singing again. It’s nice to have encouraging teachers, isn’t it? Especially the ones who are good teachers and don’t come to work only for the money, but actually want to teach you things.

  2. When I write, I am hyper-aware of the word “that.” One of my social work professors (now retired) explained how much she hated to see the word “that” in papers. Stating it meant nothing, “it is really just a filler word.” I try not to use “that” very much at all now. “That’s” my story and I’m stickin’ to it!

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