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  1. marcusl
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    marcusl Member

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    A narrator with a temper

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by marcusl, Dec 20, 2009.

    Imagine if there's a story with a protagonist who has a bad temper and curses all the time. If the novel is written from a third person limited perspective, should the writing reflect the narrator's voice? As in, would there be lots of cussing? I can imagine that could get annoying.

    Thanks.
     
  2. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it's third person, then the narrator is not the protagonist, so the cussing would only appear in the protagonist's speech and thoughts.
     
  3. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    In third person, you control the influence of character voice in the narrative. It can read similar to first in that every line you type may be filtered through the character's personality, vocabulary and current state of mind. Or you can write entirely with your own voice.

    Most good writers seem to strike a happy balance between the two. Too much character influence can be irritating and limiting for a wide variety of reasons. On the other hand, the narrative shouldn't clash with the character's personality unless the effect is intentional.

    You'll have to figure this one out on your own. It helps to know who you're writing for, though. Generally speaking, less is more when it comes to swearing. I, personally, don't mind it, and most readers probably won't, either, if the piece is written for a mature audience. But that's not the point. Swearing has a lot more impact when used sparingly, so I might be inclined to limit instances of such to key moments.

    It all depends on the piece. What does crude language and vulgarity contribute to it?
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Character-driven narration is narration from an identifiable point of view character. That narrator's thought and speech patterns find their way into the narration. In tat narration style, you are developing that character in the expression of the narration rather than through observation by the narrator.

    Nevertheless, I would play down the cursing. A little goes a long way, especially in narration. The narrator is one level removed from the action by virtue of being an observer, and it's appropriate to dial back the emotions a bit anyway.

    In any case, though, it is always better to understate swearing in writing than to overstate it. I know some people will disagree with me on this point, but I stand by my opinion.
     
  5. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Well Put!

    Most of the time, we authors need to watch how much we use foul language. The best analogy I have is imagine you're a coach; what would get your players attention more: cursing constantly or only at certain, opportune times? The latter of course, and the same with writing!

    For example, the favorite words of Kate's when she thinks, or reflects third person is "Jesus." Why? While that is a curse, it allows for the f-bomb or something stronger to really catch the reader's attention and draw them into the importance of that particular scene.

    However, if you use it constantly, you will lose that power.
     
  6. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Kate, didn't I already say that?;) Because you quoted me, I have to assume you're talking to me. . .

    Edit: Nevermind. I just saw the title of you post.:redface: *Goes to make some coffee.*

    Perhaps a kindly mod will clean up my mess by deleting this foolish post? Pretty please?
     
  7. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    It's okay

    we're all human and flub ups are normal. Besides, I agreed with you completely! :D
     

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