Either Felix knows exactly how cheesy he sounds when he monologues and takes complete joy in giving those speeches anyway OR he thinks he sounds 100% cool when delivering them and thinks everyone is super intimidated.
I can’t tell which is dorkier.
The main reason for the ‘said’ rule, is that 'said' is invisible.
If you write a whole page of dialogue, readers need to be able to distinguish between the speakers.
There are several ways of doing that:
- Action tag: Peter threw the mug across the kitchen. “Don’t ever talk to me that way again.”
- Name of the character in the dialogue: “Don’t ever talk to me that way again, Mary.”
- Distinctive speech pattern: “D-don’t ever talk to m-me that way again.”
- Inserting ‘stop’ words particular to the character. “Like, you know, don’t talk ever talk to me that way again, you know?”
- Dialect: “Don’ evah talk t’me them way agin.”
- Emphasize the words: “Don’t. Ever. Talk. To. Me. That. Way. Again.”
If you need to add a speech tag, ‘Peter said’ is pretty invisible. It’s similar to a stage direction:
(Peter:) Don’t ever talk to me that way again.
The other part of the rule is that novice writers are tempted to pimp up their speech tags instead of the dialogue.
"Don’t ever talk to me that way again," Peter hissed.
"Don’t ever talk to me that way again," Peter threatened.
"Don’t ever talk to me that way again," Peter yelled.
"Don’t ever talk to me that way again," Peter bellowed.
If you need to increase the impact of a dialogue and you cannot think of a way to change the dialogue, adding an action tag is better than changing the speech tag from ‘said’ to ‘threatened’.
The twinkle disappeared from Peter’s eyes and he stepped closer. His voice was low, almost a growl. “Don’t ever talk to me that way again.”
If you need to make a point quickly, yes, you can use a different speech that from said. I believe in the “you can do anything you want” in writing. However, use it moderatively.
Every rule can be broken, but most can be circumvented. The best advice is to use both as best as you can.
Here’s another post that can illustrate this even further.
Again, you can do anything you want.
Amateur writers tend to overuse substitutions for “said,” but the great thing about the word is the brain tends to skip over it while still recognizing who is speaking. If you have a bit of dialogue where two characters are speaking but never “say” anything, they “shout,” “hiss,” “holler,” “spit,” whatever, the reader is taken away from the dialogue and, in that moment, becomes conscious more of the act of reading than of reading the story.
Again, like all rules of writing, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. But to break the rules you need to know how they function.