Redundant dialog tags-where do they go?…a flash fiction about dialog tags

What’s this? Two postings in two days. Why yes, and how lucky you are.

Think of this as a flash fiction special, a buy one get one free, two for the price of one….

No, really, the reason for this unexpected story is quite simple. I came across a posting about the unnecessary use of dialog tags, which then promted me to edit a short story I was about to send out to a competition. Reading the story again this morning I noticed that three unashamed tags had either crept back in or been overlooked. As I was commenting on this to the blogger in question, a story occured to me: what happens to the dialog tags we discard? Where do out of work dialog tags go etc? And so, I give you this story. A quick note: I have exceeded my self-imposed word limit of 250, but since this story is about writing rules and whether to break or not to break, I choose break.


‘Humph!’ grunted Mutter, ‘where are we?’

‘Looks like a waiting room,’ muttered Snort.

‘Waiting!’ snorted Grunt, ‘waiting for what?’

‘Tag counselling,’ answered a girl sitting at a computer, ‘take a leaflet and wait for Dr Said to call you in.’

Grunt walked over to the desk.

‘Who are you?’ he grunted.

‘My name is Answer,’ she replied, handing over three leaflets, ‘now please sit down and be patient.’

The new arrivals sat on a bench next to a nervous looking tag.

‘How long have you been waiting?’ muttered Mutter.

‘About two hours,’ whispered the tag.

‘Speak up,’ snorted Snort, ‘I can’t hear you.’

‘Two hours,’ repeated the tag, ‘someone called Muse was the last tag called in. They might be a while.’

‘Don’t see why we should be here at all,’ grunted Grunt.

Just then, the door opened; a highly distressed tag came in, held on either side by guards.

‘Let me go this instant!’ she shrieked, ‘you have no right to do this!’

‘Name?’ asked Answer.

‘Shriek!’ shrieked Shriek.

‘Where shall we put her?’ asked one of the guards.

‘Containment,’ answered Answer, ‘she’ll be happy there with Scream and Howl. Don’t forget to chain her up. Wail escaped yesterday on the way to counselling. He’s still missing.’

‘Listen to this’ snorted Snort, holding up the leaflet, ‘”Said says you should say said more.”’

‘It gets worse,’ muttered Mutter, ‘”Said says said sounds better!” it says here.’

‘Brainwashing,’ grunted Grunt.

‘Let’s make a break for it,’ cried Snort excitedly.

‘All for one!’ yelled Mutter emphatically.

‘And one for all!’ roared Grunt forcefully, ‘and bring your adverbs with you, we’ll need the ammunition.’

copyright: flyingscribbler 2010.


7 comments on “Redundant dialog tags-where do they go?…a flash fiction about dialog tags

  1. Katrina says:

    this one is hilarious. i’m loving your blog. look forward to next post.

  2. Thank you Katrina, glad you are enjoying my posts.
    This one is a bit frivolous but I so enjoyed writing it!

  3. patsyann says:

    He said, she said……..
    ‘You should read this,’ he suggested seductively.
    ‘Why, what’s so special,’ she riposted rudely.
    ‘It’s witty & original,’ he pontificated provocatively
    ‘Let’s have a look then,’ she conceded capriciously
    ‘Oh, your so right,’ she guffawed gleefully
    ‘Flyingscribbler brought us together,’ they reflected romantically

  4. erikamarks says:

    Justin, this is inspired and beyond clever. I’m going to hush up now about this subject–you’ve just said it all! (Thanks again for the link,too!)

  5. […] of Ithaca and the stunning village of Kioni. It’s a little in the same vein as my story about redundant dialog tags. This is also my next foray into #fridayflash. Yes, it is early, but I’m away again this week […]

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