Episode 013

“Dialogue Tags and Action Beats,” he exclaimed!

DC and Avery discuss whether “said is dead” or “said is invisible”, the use of outlandish dialogue tags, and how action beats can break up repetitive dialogue. Featuring an excerpt from one of Avery’s very oldest writing samples.


Books mentioned in this episode:
  • A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara

Drinks:

Both of the cocktails this week highlight Interrobang brand vermouth. The Interrobang (‽) is a punctuation symbol that combines an exclamation point and question mark, appropriate for our discussion of dialogue tags.

This episode, we chose drinks that let the vermouth shine, while the other elements enhance and emphasize it. This mirrors the way your dialogue should stand as the backbone of a scene, with the dialogue tags and action beats as support.

“The Nod”

Interrobang’s sweet vermouth is herbaceous in a way that reminds me a little of aromatic bitters, with a sweet red wine base. Orange helps smooth out those herbal notes, while the dry maraschino helps balance and highlight the sweetness of this low-abv drink.

  • 2oz Interrobang Sweet Vermouth
  • .5oz fresh squeezed orange juice
  • .25oz maraschino liqueur
  • 3oz seltzer
  • Orange wedge (for garnish)
  1. Combine all (except orange wedge) in a highball glass filled with ice.
  2. Stir gently.
  3. Garnish with the orange wedge.
“Said Isn’t Dead”

Interrobang white vermouth has a lovely spice note that almost reminds me of holiday baking spices. Grapefruit and honey add a little complexity that makes those flavors stand out, while vodka gives this one a hidden punch.

  • 2.5oz Interrobang White Vermouth
  • 1oz vodka
  • 1oz grapefruit juice
  • .5oz honey syrup
  • Lemon wheel (or dried lemon wheel) for garnish
  1. Pour all into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake well until chilled.
  3. Strain into a martini or coupe glass.
  4. Garnish with a lemon wheel, or float a dried lemon wheel on top.

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Streaming Audio:


Excerpt (Before Edits):

Now that they were all there, she showed Eric and Austin the riddle. 

“Time!” Austin declared the answer proudly, his green eyes flashing as he picked up the now-abandoned remote with a triumphant expression and switched to Comedy Central.

Suddenly Cass felt stupid. She should have figured it out.

“But now what?” Tara asked.

“Well, we find time,” Eric laughed shyly.

“But we’ve gotta hurry or we’ll run out of time!” Austin joked back.

“Oh, shut up you guys,” Cass said playfully.

“A clock?” Tara suggested.

“But which one?” Austin asked.

“The main clock tower. In the old section of town.” Michael suggested. “It’s sort of the clock, you know?”

“But it’s shut down,” Tara cautioned.

“All the more fun.” Michael flashed even, white teeth. His dark eyes grew mysterious suddenly. “It’ll be an adventure. Come on.”

Cass suggested they check the clocks in the house first. They found nothing.

“I guess it’s the tower then,” Cass sighed, feeling very apprehensive. It was growing dark.

“We’ll take my van,” Austin suggested.

Excerpt (After Edits):

When everyone arrived, she showed Eric and Austin the riddle. 

“Time!” Austin declared the answer proudly, picking up the now-abandoned remote, and switched to Comedy Central.

Cass felt stupid. She should have figured it out.

“But now what?” Tara said.

“Well, we find time.” Eric laughed so hard, a booger flew out of his nose.

“But we’ve gotta hurry or we’ll run out of time!” Austin said.

Cass rolled her eyes playfully. “Oh, shut up, you guys.” 

“A clock?” Tara suggested. “But which one?”

“The main clock tower. In the old section of town,” Michael said. He took out his comb and brushed a tangle out of his hair. “It’s sort of the clock, you know?”

“But it’s shut down,” Tara said.

Michael flashed his even, white teeth, and his dark eyes grew mysterious. “All the more fun. It’ll be an adventure. Come on.”

They checked the clocks in the house first and found nothing.

Impatiently, after looking for hours, Cass threw a box of glass at a window, and it shattered. “Well I guess it’s the tower then,” Cass groaned, looking out the broken window. It was growing dark.

“We’ll take my van,” Austin said.

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