said

Only speech-Attributions, he said.

The basics first: “He/she said” is the basic modifier. Dialogue tells us what is said, attribution tags tell us who said it and modifiers tell us how it was said. These are the aspects we deal with here, adverbs (he said happily) are a matter for concern in a different article.

show

Show, don’t tell & partial scenes, when to use which?

Show, don’t tell. Built-in past is called “exposition” and requires explanations so the reader can understand what is happening now. In its very nature, this is ‘telling’ rather than showing. Showing, on the other hand, makes use of evocative description.

setting

Setting: the Stage of a Scene

The beginning of a scene should lay out the characters, their relationship, the environment and the basic conflict. A common mistake is to feel the need to establish all the information at the top of the scene. Let the exposition happen naturally. Let the readers discover who and where everybody is and what their relationships are. That’s half the fun.