by Heather Moore
Can you laugh a sentence? No.
You can’t chuckle or guffaw a sentence either. Dialog tags will signal to an editor or agent whether or not you're a novice writer. For example:
“You're asking for it,” she laughed.
“You're asking for it.” She laughed.
“You're asking for it,” she said, laughing.
Have you heard of the adverb faux pas? What’s really wrong with them? Nothing, unless you are using a weak adverb in place of a strong verb. Oh yeah, and don’t use adverbs in dialog tags. It might get past your editor, but not past the reviewers. If you feel there is no other way around it, use them very sparingly.
“I need you,” she said softly.
She stared at him then spoke in a low, urgent voice. “I need you.”
She blinked back her tears. "I need you."
Use “said” 95% of the time. Readers will gloss over it. Adding tags such as he repeated, she reiterated, he teased, she promised, etc. slows down the reader. These tags should all be evident in the dialog itself.
When your character asks a question, you don’t necessarily need to say she asked. It’s becoming more common to use she said.
If you choose to use asked, treat a question mark at the end of a sentence the same way you would any other punctuation. Watch out for this beginner’s mistake:
“Where are you going?” She asked.
“Where are you going?” she asked.