There is a lot of current pressure – editors, writing groups πŸ™‚ to use β€˜said’ almost exclusively as your standard dialogue tag – this is regarded as a β€˜rule’. However, after a while he said/she said becomes totally boring [think audio book with he said/she said all the time…].

So I grabbed the following, at random, curious myself to see the patterns:

One of my favorite authors is L. E Modesitt – [American] I looked at Antiagon Fire – published 2013, Fantasy, [I used pp256-259]. Dialogue tags from those pages – asked/replied/relayed/said/said/murmured/replied/said/replied/said/asked/murmured/replied/asked/countered/said/replied
Adverbs used in these same pages include politely/politely/quietly/dryly/sweetly/wearily/…

Le Carre – [Brit] – A Delicate Truth – 2013 – thriller – same page numbers – saying/saying/confided/confirmed/said/asks/says/said/replied/ [he also mixes tense – says and said, for example].

Lee Child [Brit] – – A Wanted Man – 2012 – thriller – same page numbers – said/said/said/said/asked/said/said/said/said/said/said/said/said – very boring although his books are excellent – I’m a fan!!

Brett Battles – [American] -– The Cleaner – 2007 – thriller – same page numbers – huffed/said/yelled/said/said/said/said/whispered/asked/said/said/asked/asked/said/asked/said/asked/said/said/ – not as boring.

C. J. Cherryh – [American] -– Downbelow Station – 2001 – Science Fiction – a classic – different pages [there was no dialogue on pp256/9] – said/wished/said/murmured/asked/said/said/said/said/said/called/lisped/called/said/assured/confessed/ – a nice mix.

I’m going to stick with the Modesitt approach!! [Followed closely by Cherryh].