As a reader, I am always annoyed by mistakes in books, especially stupid mistakes. I understand that mistakes will happen, no one is perfect, but there are limits.
As an editor, I have numerous authors royally peeved with me right now because I have taken up a new crusade. Dialogue tags. You know, the things at the end of sentences that are supposed to clarify who is speaking. Okay, the key word here is clarify.
If it is already clear who is speaking, you DON’T need a dialogue tag. An action, perhaps. But you need not include he asked, she said, he queried after every bit of dialogue. It is ANNOYING!
Then there are the things I really hate.
These are things I was taught.
You don’t need a dialogue tag when you use an exclamation point. It is redundant.
No: “Get off me!” he shouted.
Yes: “Get off me!”
Maybe: “Get off me!” He shouted so loud everyone in the room stopped to stare at us.
Same thing with the question mark.
No: “Where did you get that gun?” he asked.
Yes: “Where did you get that gun?”
Maybe: “Where did you get that gun?” Michael asked the question looking very concerned.
Then there are the absolutely ridiculous dialogue tags: (dictionaries may disagree with this, but this is my rant, not theirs)
he hissed (try and say something while you are hissing. Hissing is a sound.
he giggled (again, can you say things when you are giggling?)
he grimaced. (Really people? This is a facial expressions–see J.R. Turner’s post on smirking)
she guffawed. (okay, I use she here instead of he because okay, a guffaw is kinda like a hearty laugh. Even if it was okay, most women don’t guffaw, men do.)
he groaned. (again with the noise, not s way of speech.)
A sigh is a physical action, not a dialogue tag.
A gasp is a physical action, not a dialogue tag.
A breath (breathed) is a physical action not a dialogue tag.
I am pretty much opposed to any dialogue tag that begins with “he, she, they” because generally speaking the tags are not needed. it is just fluff, filler, extraneous words, poppycock.
And yet, almost EVERY SINGLE manuscript I read has hundreds of instances of these types of things. It’s crazy I tell you!!!