Said Bookisms and Dialogue; Yusaf Mack Says He’s Gay; Vote For Your Youtuber Favorite

Said Bookisms and Dialogue

I once read a book review where an amateur author claimed the book “didn’t have good writing.” I’d read the same book, which is why I was reading other reviews, and I have to admit I was stumped by this other author’s nasty negative review. The book I’d read…the very same book this other author reviewed negatively…was flawless. It was so well-written I learned a few things while I read it.

So out of curiosity, I went to the Amazon page of the author who left the bad review for the other author and I checked out HER books to see what HER writing was like. I figured she must be really great, with such a great big mouth. In the first few pages of several of her books I found nothing but “said bookisms,” from one line of dialogue to the other. When this author’s characters spoke to each other they “grumbled, mumbled, and stumbled” so many times I almost lost my lunch.

In this author’s quest to come off looking as if she knew it all she proved to people who actually do know better that she doesn’t know much. That’s the only way to put it kindly. And when I write posts like this I’m hoping readers will check them out so they can see the difference, too.

With that said, here’s what “said bookisms” are. As the aritcle states, you can use them once in a while and it’s fine. Sometimes you have to use them. (I do it sometimes and feel so dangerous, which shows you what a geek I can be) However, if you use them in every single line of dialogue people who know better are going to whisper.

In short, a “said bookism” is what happens when an inexperienced author constantly uses dialogue tags like “she exclaimed, he ejaculated, she grumbled” instead of just saying “he said,” or “she said.” You see it a lot in magazine articles. Magazines are famous for this kind of writing. It’s fine in the right context because those people aren’t supposed to know better and it would be rude to correct them. Sometimes it’s cute. However, when a book is being published I think the author should know better. As a reader I can overlook a few misspellings and little things. But bad dialogue is something different. 

And here’s yet another article I found this week about dialogue I thought was excellent. It’s short, it’s simple, and it will show you the difference…and there is a difference. I don’t make this stuff up, which is why I link to posts and bloggers who know far more than I do. 

Problem #1: “Said” alternatives are usually counter-productive in that they end up drawing way more attention to themselves than plain-Jane “said” ever would.

Yusaf Mack Says He’s Gay

When I posted about the Yusaf Mack story earlier this week I had a feeling there would be a follow up soon. He’s the cute (hot) boxer who was claiming that he didn’t realize he did a gay porn film because he was allegedly drugged at the time. The original story was that he was bisexual.

Now this…

In a new interview taped earlier this week with Fox 29 in Philadelphia, Mack told reporter Quincy Harris: “I’m tired of holding it in. It is what it is. I live my life. I’m gay,” adding that he’s been aware of his sexuality for “about eight years.” 

I don’t have a negative comment about this. It’s the perfect example of just how confused some gay men get and how hard it is for them to come out. I’m just glad he did come out and I hope things get easier for him. It sounds as if he’s still going through a lot.

You can read the rest here.

Vote For Your Youtuber Favorite

I have to admit that I love this. I love everything about it. The sheer fact that someone can reach this point of exposure from Youtube just makes me smile. When I first discovered Youtube years ago I never would have imagined anything like this. It also breaks (shatters) the old Hollywood mold where a few select people decided to would become famous, who was talented, and who would get the most exposure.

Kicking off this year’s program is the category YouTube Standouts. Social media is saturated with personalities vying for attention, but these ten queer YouTubers are the cream of the crop. From comedy to politics, each brings to the table positive visibility for the LGBTQ community.

You can check them out here. I follow a lot of these people on Twitter and they are some of the brightest, most creative on the Internet. And they’re doing it all by themselves.

One of the personal goals that I’ve been talking about for quite some time is that I’m going to start doing book readings on Youtube eventually. I will do this. I just want to make sure it’s not totally awful so I don’t wind up looking like the “said bookism” of Youtube…and there’s a very good chance that could happen. 

Fangsters: Book 2

Gang Bang Fangsters



Steve Jobs’ Yacht Is Like Good Tight Fiction

When I saw this article I wanted to post about it because I think it’s the most wonderful ship I’ve ever seen as far as design goes. I’ve seen a lot of negative comments from those who don’t know any better and never will, but no matter how many times I look at photos and see the intricate, yet simple, design of this boat I’m amazed at how elegant it really is.

You either get it or you don’t. Plain and simple.

It’s the most perfect example of minimalist modern design I’ve seen in years, and I think it’s going to become a classic. I like to think of fiction writing that way: tight, clean, sleek, and without the messy said bookisms and adverbs (He mumbled longingly; She grumbled lovingly; He barked loudly…ick, ick, ick). Unfortunately, this kind of tight fiction is not popular in the romance genre, and frills and ruffles that aren’t needed are often inserted and people think that’s good writing. I’m talking about word economy without frills: first page; Great Gatsby. That’s what writing fiction is all about for me. And it takes years to develop. I’m still working on that kind of perfection and probably always will be.  

For those who don’t know, Steve Jobs was so obsessed with minimalist design he only wore black mock turtlenecks. And he didn’t own any furniture for years because he couldn’t find anything he liked…or what he thought would work from a design POV. As the true perfectionist, he wouldn’t settle for almost as good. It had to be just right, and perfect. This followed through in every aspect of his life, which is why the iPad you’re using now looks and feels the way it does. The technology was important to him, and so was the design. I have an iPhone 3, and I don’t know if I will get the iPhone 4 or 5. Whenever I see someone use one of the newer versions I can’t help noticing how the design has suffered since the beginning. They don’t even feel the same to me, and I can’t help wondering if we’ve seen the last of that kind of exceptional minimalist design for a long time.

In any event, here’s part of the article about the yacht that was just launched.

The Venus is a sort of iPhone of yachts — minimalist in design, aluminum hulled, not cheap at a reported cost of about $138 million to build, and equipped with the latest in Apple technology.

Jobs’ influence is all over that yacht. If you’ve studied anything at all about him, and you’ve read about how hard he worked toward that kind of perfection, you’ll see the artist in him surpassed the businessman more than once in his life. And it’s a shame we don’t know more about this, because it’s not usually what we see focused on when he’s talked about now.

Fiction Writing: Said Bookisms and Unattributed Dialogue

I was looking over a few of the bestsellers on a retail e-book site and reading the excerpts. Now, I’m not trying to be an expert here. Though I have a degree from an excellent university in English, and I received excellent grades, I’ll be the first to admit I’m still learning and still looking for better ways to write fiction. I usually do this by reading proven fiction masters, like John Irving, Anne Tyler, and Toni Morrison on a regular basis. I like to see how they handle certain techniques, especially dialogue.

And I thought I’d offer this small post, and example, about Said Bookisms and Unattributed Dialogue, partly because these two things drive me up the wall, and partly because they seem to be so popular these days.

Maybe I’m missing something and it’s okay to use Said Bookisms and too much Unattributed Dialogue nowadays? I have been seeing a lot of this going around, especially on more than a few bestseller lists.

But just in case it’s not, this example below might help. Here’s a link in case anyone wants to dispute this with the author of the ariticle. Don’t blame me. I could post five dozen other examples backing this up.

Every writer goes through a stage where they think that they use ‘said’ too much. So a young writer starts to use substitutes like, he expostulated, she shouted, he questioned, she stated. Don’t do it. ‘Said’ is virtually invisible. Pick up a book with a decent amount of dialogue and count the ‘said’s. It’s astonishing.

Another rule of thumb. You can use unattributed dialogue:

“It’s mighty dark in here,” Joe said.

“It sure is,” Emily agreed.

“Cold, too.”

“You got that right.”

Unattributed dialogue is the stuff where it doesn’t say who said it. But be careful with it; too many times I find myself counting back to see who said what. Attribution is invisible, when in doubt, use more rather than less.

"Said Bookisms" Don’t Do It!

I often read book excerpts on retail e-book sites and make lists of what I’m going to read next. I was doing this again today and I noticed something interesting on many sites. I can’t single one site out in particular. They all had books with the same problem, and some of these books have received spectacular reviews.

But I simply cannot understand how a book can receive a great review when it’s filled with “said bookisms” from page one. I saw this over and over again, and I had to wonder whether or not these authors just don’t know, they don’t care, or they think they are being clever by using “said bookisms.” Is this the newest wave in literature and art and someone forgot to mention it to me? Or is it just that there are so many people out there writing books, without a clue as to how it’s done, that it doesn’t matter anymore? The storyline matters, the facts matter, and the editing matters. But there are also clear concise rules about crafting a novel or story that should matter just as much. Authors should know this; book reviewers should know this (and at the very least mention it…even when the author is a great story teller).

For those who don’t know, “said bookisms” are a sure sign that a writer has a limited educational background in writing as well as limited experience in reading good books. “Said bookisms” are melodramatic dialogue tags that pull the reader out of the story and break the pace. Instead of keeping it simple and tight, and using “he said” and “she asked” as dialogue tags, they use tags like “he barked,” and “she chuckled.” This is the sign of a pure amateur, and I only have to glance at the first few pages of a book to know whether or not I’m going to bother reading it. For me, even if the story is great, I won’t read it.

I’m seeing this all the time, from authors who are promoting their books on social networks and yahoo groups. There are so many excerpts with “said bookisms” it would be impossible to list them.

I’m not a total prude about this. I think it’s okay to use them once in a while, and I even think they serve a purpose in certain situations. However, I’m not talking about once in a while here. I’m talking about authors using these “said bookisms” from page one to the end of the book just for the sake of using them. For a great example that goes into more detail, read below. And I’ve posted a link to the article below the example.

Yes, I know, lots of best-selling authors use said bookisms, sometimes to excess. That doesn’t mean it’s all right to use them. That simply means they are so good at telling a story that can get away with it.

And of course, avoid the dialogue tag “he ejaculated.” At the very least, don’t use that as a dialogue tag during a sex scene – unless you want a laugh.

Put your energy into making sure your characters’ words are strong enough, and you won’t need to lean on the said bookisms.