I have a lot of "he said"s and "she said"s in my writing. How do I combat this?

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I have a lot of "he said"s and "she said"s in my writing. How do I combat this?

Writing with a lot of dialogue is certainly going to bring up the annoying repetition of the phrase "he/she/they/it said" but there are ways to avoid these pitfalls.
If there are only two characters speaking to each other, then you can dispense with the "he said"s by only putting it in the first lines of conversation. Providing they take it in turns to talk, your audience will be aware of who is talking at all times, and needn't be reminded who is talking. (Perhaps putting a "X said" every 5-10 exchanges would suffice)
Another was is to find synonyms for "said". But beware! If you put too many of these together your writing will look ridiculous and you will come off as pretentious. Several synonyms you could try are "he intoned" "she questioned" "Billy shrugged" "Joanna remarked" "Kevin shouted/yelled/screamed" "Helen moaned/wailed/sighed" A thesaurus is a useful tool for finding alternative words...but remember to limit this technique to as few times per dialogue as possible! And never repeat the same action on a single page. Trust me, if you read "Joanna shrugged" followed by "Billy shrugged", it will jolt you out of your engrossment of the book: Always a terrible error for any writer!



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