Hey, check this out:
Frank cautiously entered the supposedly haunted house. He tightly gripped onto his flashlight as the floorboards creaked ominously. Suddenly, Frank heard something.
“Get out,” a voice said quietly.
So Frank quickly turned and ran.
Words, words, words. It seems like the idea most people have is “more = better,” which is definitely not the case.
For one, when people try puffing up the word count of their story, it usually means sacrificing the strength of the words by compounding actions with “-ly” words.
Take the first action, for instance.
Frank cautiously entered…
“Entered” is boring, and “cautiously” is just an attempt to fluff it up and make it more interesting. Why not just replace the two words with one stronger one?
Frank crept into the haunted house.
It gets the reader to the point faster instead of having to push through useless extra words.
Most of the time, fluff is used during dialogue.
“Get out,” a voice said quietly
“Get out,” a voice whispered.
There’s no reason to use phrases like “said loudly” or “said quietly” when words like “yelled” or “muttered” exist. It gets to the point and gets rid of the extra.
One last thing though: don’t be afraid of the word “said.” Usually, when there’s a back and forth writers are hesitant in using “said, said, said” over and over again and resort to a back and forth of “said, retorted, replied.”
“Said” is largely an invisible word, and unless you honestly mean someone “snapped” or “muttered” during a regular conversation there’s no reason not to use it.