My friend Nadia over at nadiacreek asked the aether for some practical, straightforward writing advice, which I assume she meant to be nuts and bolts stuff.
So here is some writing advice. Feel free to add to it. I probably will.
(Caveat emptor: 1. The reason advice looks contradictory is because it literally is different for everyone – shit that works for one person won’t work for someone else. Just stick it in your toolbox and move along. 2. I will say obvious shit that you already know. Because it’s possible somebody else doesn’t. 3. You may totally disagree with anything/everything I say, oh my god, that’s fine.)
1. Use the word “said.” Throw in a “she declaimed” every once in a while if you like, but don’t do it all the time. Feel free to put in no dialogue tags at all, if it’s clear who’s speaking. But “said” is free and generally invisible to the reader (and the goal is to not remind the reader that they’re reading).
2. Writing advice for fanfic and writing advice for short fiction and writing advice for novels are all going to tell you slightly (or wildly) different things. So, you know, watch out for that. I suggest switching mediums entirely, and try reading up on screenplays or three-panel comics.