Since I took up writing as a hobby, I've learnt that it's recommended to only use "say" and "ask" as dialogue tags, and to skip even these if the attribution can be supplied in another way. I realize that the abundancy of synonyms I used in previous texts is way over the top, and I'm working hard on toning it down. However, sometimes, "say" just doesn't express the tone of what's being said. So I'm wondering if it might be permissible to use alternatives in very specific cases.
With the examples that are usually given in these writing guidelines, it's always very obvious why the dialogue tag doesn't work. Of course you can't gasp or spit a run-on sentence or hiss a sentence that doesn't contain any sibilants. But what if those "obvious" reasons don't apply?
"No!" I gasped.
"Right," she spat.
"I love you!" he blurted out.
"It is what it is," he hissed, shrugging.
Of course, there are other ways of describing these, but are these better?
"No!" I said with a gasp.
"Right," she said, almost spitting the word.
"I love you!" Oops, he hadn't meant to say that.
Is that really more "invisible" than simply using the verb instead? (That's hard for me to judge because the old way is so ingrained in my writing habits. Maybe in a year, I'll look back at this question and laugh.)
I agree that the hissing can be described in more detail:
"It is what it is," he said with a shrug, hissing each sibillant in a way reminiscent of the viper he was.
But while that might work once, if this is a common habit of the character, it seems like always having to include the description would get old pretty quickly.
My question is not how to get rid of the dialogue tags. If the tag doesn't add anything, I prefer not having one at all. I've been using these tags because they describe how the characters are speaking, in addition to any action that takes place in-between.
How can I convey the information currently contained in the dialogue tags in a different way?