After someone speaks in my stories, I often follow it with 'someones name nodded' and I feel like I say that too much. Is there some way I could get the same action across with out using the same two word sentence every time. Saying so and so nodded starts to feel tedious after a while in my opinion.
*nods* I do that all the time. Even though I know it’s repetitive “he/she nodded” is still the first thing I write. All that nodding eventually makes my neck hurt.
You probably use “nodded” in lieu of the even more boring and repetitive “yeah.” You’re right in wanting to delete that extra line of dialogue from your scene. Even if saying “yeah” is something that happens regularly in natural dialogue, your written conversations should be clean. For that reason, if I can’t think of a better verb, I leave “nodded” or any action out at all and jump straight to the next line of dialogue. Generally your characters’ spoken responses should show that they agree, making the use of “nod” or any other verb redundant.
Observe how you and other people agree with things. Different personalities respond in different ways. Different types of nods imply different types of agreement too. A person who is constantly nodding is probably not adding dialogue, but only listening in. This character does not need to constantly be referred to unless their opinion- verbal or not- is important to the reader.
Here is an example from my fic Regenerate. There are four persons in the scene and I’ve trimmed it to show only their actions:
“…Terry clears her throat. ’[states fact].’
My voice too is sore. ’[states opinion].’
Rogue cracks her gloved knuckles. ’[states opinion].’ She looks at [Bobby] to agree with her.
’[states follow-up opinion],’ Terry brushes back wild strands of hair, ’[reinforces opinion].’
Bobby nods slightly, having something to say but holding onto it.
[disagreement between two other characters]
Bobby nods again, looking up at the other two. ’[agrees and states opinion].’
’[agrees],’ Terry crosses her arms. ’[reinforces opinion].’
’[disagrees],’ I say. ’[reinforces argument].’
’[states return argument].’ Bobby adjusts his posture to face me directly. ’[reinforces argument]’…”
This isn’t the best example I could come up with it’s just the first I thought of, but note how Bobby does nod while formulating his own opinion in private. Note also the actions the other characters perform instead of nodding. They aren’t conciously trying to agree or disagree with each other, they’re simply speaking for the sake of being heard. There’s nothing else happening in this scene because the group is standing in an empty hallway. Were the hallway crowded or were they actively doing something relevant actions could be substituted. Instead of using body language to show their opinion, they could be folding laundry or washing dishes and therefore their physical movements would be invested in those activities.
Alright, I’m not convinced myself that anything I’ve just said is helpful, so, I Googled for backup.
Great question btw, it’s always a comfort to know another writer out there is yelling at their screen for the same reasons I am. And hey, I never would’ve thought to research this problem on my own, so thanks for that!
Hope something here helps you too.