Novice writers of fictional dialogue sometimes become wary of repeating “said” too often, resulting in odd constructions like this: “‘You’ve got gravy on your shirt,’ she spoke.”

You can speak a language or speak with someone, but you can’t speak a speech.

If you get tired of “said” you could have your characters whisper, shout, hiss, or grumble; but you shouldn’t be afraid of having them simply say things. It won’t bore your readers; they won’t even notice.

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