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Re: [Flewelling] I say, you say, he-she-it says.... (was: Article on Creating Characters)

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  • Serena
    Sometimes I think the obvious is used, he replied or he asked as a beat , to create a tiny little pause between one piece of dialogue and another without
    Message 1 of 16 , Mar 31, 2005
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      Sometimes I think the obvious is used, "he replied" or "he asked" as a 'beat', to create a tiny little pause between one piece of dialogue and another without going into a description of what the character did or something more usual. It is a redundant thing to write, but sometimes I find myself doing it, particularly in more subdued conversations between characters, to keep the dialogue at a gentle pace. It's still bad practice I think, but maybe someone could prpose a better solution?
      So far, all of my writing professors and writing books
      have been on the pro-said side. That 'said' is, like
      you said, invisible to the reader. That other
      variations are as evil as adverbs, and are also
      jarring, because you don't want readers to notice
      anything besides the dialogue and a fancy 'said' word
      will bring them out of it, and stuff. And that
      actually can be true. In books I've read where the
      author avoids 'say' at all costs, I find myself paying
      more attention to the verbs being used and it really
      does halt the flow of dialogue.

      I still like using other words, with said used maybe
      half the time, something like that. The only 'said'
      variations I really don't like are the obvious ones.
      One of my most-hated is 'replied'. "Blah blah blah?"
      she asked. "Blah," he replied. I mean... duh! Of
      course it's a reply, we don't need it spelled out for
      us, does the writer think we're dumb? *laugh* Though I
      don't mind 'ask' for some reason... I guess because,
      even though I know it's a question and don't need it
      to be specified with 'he/she asked', that just sounds
      right. 'He said' after a question just seems
      funny-sounding to me.

      My favorite has always been 'murmur'. I just really
      like the sound of that word.



      --- summershadows_winterlight
      <charlotte@...> wrote:
      >
      > Just read it :D
      > I, of course, noticed the most off topic thing in
      > the whole article
      > first, which made me laugh and therefor has to be
      > picked as my
      > personal quote of the day.
      > "(...)they'd invite you to dinner as the main
      > course, not a guest"
      >
      > Apart from that, interesting to read of course. I
      > usually try to keep
      > the techniques you mentioned in mind, and will go on
      > doing so of
      > course.
      > Funny by the way the 'said' thing. I read many
      > articles about
      > diaglogue, and while the first said (ack, there it
      > sneaked into my
      > text again, this word.) "'said' is ignored while
      > reading, and you just
      > hear the sentence XY says (this word *is* sticky in
      > a way)" the next
      > article will claim the opposite and tell you to use
      > anything but 'to
      > say'.
      > I hardly use say, but I sadly tend to overuse 'he
      > muttered', because I
      > know no better word when I want my character to..
      > well, mutter. If
      > anyone has great ideas in that, please enlighten me!
      >
      > love,
      >
      > Charlotte
      >
      >
      > --- In Flewelling@yahoogroups.com, "lynn_flewelling"
      > <otterdance2@a...> wrote:
      > >
      > > My article on creating fantasy characters will
      > appear in the April
      > issue of the online
      > > magazine Deep Magic.
      > >
      > > http://www.deep-magic.net/
      >
      >
      >
      >



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    • Andrea Chavez
      ... I read once that murmur was judged to be the most beautiful word in the English language. Umm, don t know if I agree, but it is probably in the top
      Message 2 of 16 , Apr 1, 2005
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        >
        > My favorite has always been 'murmur'. I just really
        > like the sound of that word.
        >
        >

        I read once that "murmur" was judged to be the most
        beautiful word in the English language. Umm, don't
        know if I agree, but it is probably in the top ten.

        (they were not judging sentiment, just sound.)

        AC

        Andrea C

        "I always pass on good advice,
        It's the only thing to do with it" --Oscar Wilde



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      • summershadows_winterlight
        sadly, I don t know any german translation. Anyone else? Murmeln, and more I don t know that hasn t a negative connotation like nuscheln etc... Charlotte
        Message 3 of 16 , Apr 1, 2005
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          sadly, I don't know any german translation. Anyone else?
          Murmeln, and more I don't know that hasn't a negative connotation like
          nuscheln etc...

          Charlotte


          --- In Flewelling@yahoogroups.com, Andrea Chavez <achavez47@y...> wrote:
          >
          > >
          > > My favorite has always been 'murmur'. I just really
          > > like the sound of that word.
          > >
          > >
          >
          > I read once that "murmur" was judged to be the most
          > beautiful word in the English language. Umm, don't
          > know if I agree, but it is probably in the top ten.
          >
          > (they were not judging sentiment, just sound.)
          >
          > AC
          >
          > Andrea C
          >
          > "I always pass on good advice,
          > It's the only thing to do with it" --Oscar Wilde
          >
          >
          >
          > __________________________________
          > Do you Yahoo!?
          > Yahoo! Small Business - Try our new resources site!
          > http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/resources/
        • silverhawk9p9
          ... My personal favorite word, currently, is nudged. It describes something as simple as pushing, but it implies so much more. I find that the most
          Message 4 of 16 , Apr 1, 2005
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            > > I read once that "murmur" was judged to be the most
            > > beautiful word in the English language. Umm, don't
            > > know if I agree, but it is probably in the top ten.
            > >
            > > (they were not judging sentiment, just sound.)
            > >
            > > AC
            > >
            > > Andrea C

            My personal favorite word, currently, is nudged. It describes
            something as simple as pushing, but it implies so much more.

            I find that the most undescriptive word in the english language is
            smell. Because there is no word for any smell other than smell. Try
            it. You will always say "smells like something".
          • Tawariel
            to notice an odour ? ... From: silverhawk9p9 My personal favorite word, currently, is nudged. It describes something as simple as
            Message 5 of 16 , Apr 1, 2005
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              "to notice an odour"?

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: silverhawk9p9 <silverhawk1000@...>

              My personal favorite word, currently, is nudged. It describes
              something as simple as pushing, but it implies so much more.

              I find that the most undescriptive word in the english language is
              smell. Because there is no word for any smell other than smell. Try
              it. You will always say "smells like something".
            • Amy Harlib
              aharlib@earthlink.net Terrific! Please remind us again when the article is actually online. Cheers! Amy ... of the online
              Message 6 of 16 , Apr 1, 2005
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                aharlib@...
                Terrific! Please remind us again when the article is actually online.
                Cheers!
                Amy
                >
                >
                > My article on creating fantasy characters will appear in the April issue
                of the online
                > magazine Deep Magic.
                >
                > http://www.deep-magic.net/
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > Lynn's official web-site - www.sff.net/people/Lynn.Flewelling
                >
                > Post message: Flewelling@yahoogroups.com
                > Subscribe: Flewelling-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
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                > List owner: Flewelling-owner@yahoogroups.com
                > URL to this page: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Flewelling
                >
                > Yahoo! Groups Links
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                >
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              • Suzanne LaFleur
                Scented ? But that implies checking the air as an animal would, IMO. This could be fun, looking up synonyms. Would a thesaurus be cheating? B*B Suzanne
                Message 7 of 16 , Apr 1, 2005
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                  "Scented"? But that implies checking the air as an animal would, IMO.

                  This could be fun, looking up synonyms. Would a thesaurus be cheating?

                  B*B
                  Suzanne
                  http://www.walkamerica.org/AriRashkae

                  On Apr 1, 2005, at 3:06 PM, silverhawk9p9 wrote:

                  > My personal favorite word, currently, is nudged. It describes
                  > something as simple as pushing, but it implies so much more.
                  >
                  > I find that the most undescriptive word in the english language is
                  > smell. Because there is no word for any smell other than smell. Try
                  > it. You will always say "smells like something".
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Mattail
                  ... And then there s poor cacophony . Generally agreed to be the ugliest of words (or at least of polite words), ironicly it also describes a sound. So
                  Message 8 of 16 , Apr 1, 2005
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                    > > My favorite has always been 'murmur'. I just really
                    > > like the sound of that word.
                    > >
                    > I read once that "murmur" was judged to be the most
                    > beautiful word in the English language.

                    And then there's poor 'cacophony'. Generally agreed to be the
                    ugliest of words (or at least of 'polite' words), ironicly it also
                    describes a sound.
                    So what would a cacophony of murmurs sound like? (Probably something
                    distinctiv- Wait, I know a word that means just that. 'Rhubarb' was
                    used on early radio to simulate large crouds talking quietly. Then
                    there's 'rabble'...)
                  • silverhawk9p9
                    ... Rhubarb is a plant that is poisonous except for its stalks. Harvest the stalks and it is quite yummy. I suppose a cacophony of murmurs would be something
                    Message 9 of 16 , Apr 2, 2005
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                      --- In Flewelling@yahoogroups.com, "Mattail" <mttdfrk@y...> wrote:
                      > And then there's poor 'cacophony'. Generally agreed to be the
                      > ugliest of words (or at least of 'polite' words), ironicly it also
                      > describes a sound.
                      > So what would a cacophony of murmurs sound like? (Probably something
                      > distinctiv- Wait, I know a word that means just that. 'Rhubarb' was
                      > used on early radio to simulate large crouds talking quietly. Then
                      > there's 'rabble'...)

                      Rhubarb is a plant that is poisonous except for its stalks. Harvest
                      the stalks and it is quite yummy. I suppose a cacophony of murmurs
                      would be something like when everyone is politely silent for a
                      preformance and then something strange happens, everyone begins
                      talking in low voices.

                      And I mean to include all synonyms of smell too! Besides, usually you
                      say "Smells like [noun]" or "Gave off a [qualitative adjective]
                      smell." But you can't describe some scent by using just one word like
                      brown.
                    • summershadows_winterlight
                      ooh, you can I think, if that counts :D it stinks. that means it smells of something disgustingly without having to use the world smell. Charlotte
                      Message 10 of 16 , Apr 2, 2005
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                        ooh, you can I think, if that counts :D
                        "it stinks." that means it smells of something disgustingly without
                        having to use the world smell.

                        Charlotte


                        >
                        > And I mean to include all synonyms of smell too! Besides, usually you
                        > say "Smells like [noun]" or "Gave off a [qualitative adjective]
                        > smell." But you can't describe some scent by using just one word like
                        > brown.
                      • silverhawk9p9
                        ... So it is. Any others though?
                        Message 11 of 16 , Apr 2, 2005
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                          --- In Flewelling@yahoogroups.com, "summershadows_winterlight"
                          <charlotte@s...> wrote:
                          >
                          > ooh, you can I think, if that counts :D
                          > "it stinks." that means it smells of something disgustingly without
                          > having to use the world smell.
                          >
                          > Charlotte
                          So it is. Any others though?
                        • Katja A Kivilahti
                          ... Möömöö . That s the sound cows make in Finland. :-D It s a common story here that the Finnish aja hiljaa sillalla (drive slowly on the bridge) was
                          Message 12 of 16 , Apr 5, 2005
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                            On Fri, 1 Apr 2005, Andrea Chavez wrote:

                            > I read once that "murmur" was judged to be the most
                            > beautiful word in the English language.   Umm, don't
                            > know if I agree, but it is probably in the top ten.
                            >
                            > (they were not judging sentiment, just sound.)

                            "Möömöö". That's the sound cows make in Finland. :-D

                            It's a common story here that the Finnish "aja hiljaa sillalla" (drive
                            slowly on the bridge) was once judged to be the most beautiful sentence in
                            the world. Don't know if that actually happened -- it was told me by a
                            teacher, though.

                            - katja
                          • Purchase Family
                            I enjoyed the article, Lynn. I too have been urged to write character sketches and notes etc, and I found them useful, but not the solution. In the end, as I
                            Message 13 of 16 , Apr 26, 2005
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                              I enjoyed the article, Lynn. I too have been urged to write character sketches and notes etc, and I found them useful, but not the solution. In the end, as I write a character, he/she comes alive to me, and that means I have to go back and revise <g>. And the story then changes because I find that X simply can't do what I thought he would. So I have to change that too. For example, the character in my stories who was originally a lot like Alec, has morphed into a man so damaged by betrayal, torture and loss that he now derives a twisted kind of pleasure from inflicting pain himself, and is deeply ashamed of that. I never meant for that to happen. It just did.

                              I also liked your comment about the reader missing characters as the book ends. **I** miss my characters. I get fond of them, and wish they were alive and part of my life -- even the baddies <g>.

                              And thanks for the head's-up on the magazine itself. Interesting.

                              Nigel


                              ----- Original Message -----
                              From: lynn_flewelling
                              To: Flewelling@yahoogroups.com
                              Sent: Friday, April 01, 2005 3:04 AM
                              Subject: [Flewelling] Article on Creating Characters






                              My article on creating fantasy characters will appear in the April issue of the online
                              magazine Deep Magic.

                              http://www.deep-magic.net/







                              Lynn's official web-site - www.sff.net/people/Lynn.Flewelling

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