"So," he said, "let us discuss dialog tags."
If you're not familiar, dialog tags are words like "said," "asked," "yelled," "shouted," &c that modify passages spoken by characters in short stories and novels to indicate speech (and sometimes the manner of speech). Some authorities maintain that all of them are acceptable, others that only "said" and "asked" are okay, and even a few hardline minimalists who only accept "said." I vacillate between the second and third categories.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First, I find properly done dialog tags beyond "said" and "asked" distracting. If characters are constantly hollering, yelling, whispering, yodeling, beseeching, imploring, choking, rasping, and croaking, I can't focus as well on the story. I should be able to tell whether a character is doing these things within the context of the scene; authors shouldn't need to communicate this to readers directly.
Which of the below do you find more effective?
"No!" Anthony shouted.
"No!" Anthony said. Susan recoiled at the force of his reply.
You probably don't even need the exclamation mark in that second one. Is it Shakespeare? No. Does it get the point across? I think so.
Second, I find that the majority of dialog tags beyond "said" and "asked" simply aren't done properly. For example, you can't "smile" or "chuckle" a line of dialog. You can smile while saying something or chuckle after saying something, but "'No,' Sue smiled," and "'Why not,' Dad chuckled" are both annoying and physically impossible. (Please note the difference between "'Yes,' Sue smiled" and "'Yes.' Sue smiled.")
Final thought: I think "asked" is sort of superfluous, since the question mark in the line of dialog already tells you that what is being said is being asked, but I find it relatively unobtrusive, so I don't have a major beef with it.
What do you think, meine Autoren?