One giveaway that I’m working on a manuscript by a fairly new writer (or with a writer who hasn’t worked with an editor before) is an abundant variety of dialogue tags.
Elmore Leonard advises writers to use only “said.” (Don’t know who Elmore Leonard is? Raylan Givens is shaking a finger at you and insisting you educate yourself. He’ll wait while you do so.)
I try to limit the variety of dialogue tags I use in my own writing and to limit them when I’m editing others’ writing, but I admit Mr. Leonard would argue I stray too often as I will sometimes use “answered,” “added,” and “replied,” among a few others.
With that said, consider this mess: