Instead of ''Said''

Got this idea for a game from my son’s homework assignment. Write a sentence, but instead of using “said”, use another word. We’ll start with A, then the next person uses B, etc.

I’ll start with a simple example:

“Where is the peanut butter?” asked Frogsworth.
Note that the letters X and Y are excluded.

The next poster should use a word starting with the letter B.

“This is a ridiculous accusation!” blustered Shibb0leth.

“Please stop chopping off my feet,” Paul Sheldon begged.

ETA (since twix beat me to B):

“I’ll stop chopping when you bring Misery back to life!” **cackled **Annie.

“Get me this report by 3pm!” directed Mr. Talbot.

“I’ve had enough of your balderdash!” Twickster erupted.

“Go Cheerios!” **exhorted **Sue Sylvester.

Oops, too late on “E.”

“I knew that,” fibbed twickster.

“I ninja’d Twickter,” Maserschmidt fretted.

“Twix wouldn’t mind,” guessed Maserschmidt.

“Guess again!” huffed twickster.

“No!” howled Joe.

Any professional writer (like me) will tell you that exercises to replace “said” are not helping anyone write better.

“Said” is an invisible word. It lets the writer focus on content. The reader doesn’t notice it, no matter how often it’s repeated. I’ve seen works by people who tried really hard to not use said and it is painful to read. Forcing importance on to the nuances of the tag distracts the reader. Its good, as a writer to have a wide vocabulary of dialogue tags to choose from, but for the majority of dialogue, there is no reason to use anything other than “said”. That way, when as a writer you do use something else with a stronger meaning, the meaning gets through clearly.

“Balderdash!” intervened Lobohan.

“Dinner - enjoy the rest of the game!” interjected maserschmidt.


“We’re not trying to write better, we’re playing a game,” jabbed twickster.

“I love the way twickster spells ‘verg’ in her edit line,” maserschmidt kidded.

“I don’t know what you mean by ‘verg’,” lamented BobArrgh.

“Mama mia!” muttered Maserschmidt.

“Take that back!” pravnik lashed out.

ETA: Whoa! Too slow by two.

“We seem to be duplicating some letters,” noted twickster, who finds spelling sometimes overrated.

“Stop being a party pooper!” muttered Brunhilda.

pan1, you are right of course, but I think the point of the exercise for schoolchildren is to build their vocabularies. Also, I think the VERY OCCASIONAL use of replied and asked is okay, if the writer is relating a conversation with three or more participants and it is necessary to attribute dialogue frequently.

“Spelling was a fine TV producer,” opined maserschmidt.