1. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    "Any last words?"

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Flying Geese, Aug 15, 2013.

    I am trying to experiment with dialogue. I want to find a non-cliche way of saying "Any last words?" (as in a character is about to be executed)

    do you know of any great scenes from movies, video games or books that I could draw ideas from? Also, what is the best way to keep from using cliche dialogue?
     
  2. stronglydisagree
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    stronglydisagree New Member

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    How that phrase is worded relies a lot on the executioner's personality/the executioner's relation with the character/the reason for execution/the situation that led up to the execution, so take that into consideration. If it is a prison execution then it would fine for your character to simply say, "Any last words?" or something like "Anything you want to tell your family?" or even simply, "Well?". Take into consideration that they might not even ask though.
     
  3. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That's too broad a question, because even a cliche line like "Any last words" can come across as NOT cliche. Whatever works, works, and only the way you write it, the entire scene and situation and characters and tone of voice, would determine whether it's really cliche. You see, cliche is not bad - it's when cliches are used badly, eg. the scene is written badly - then it turns sour.

    If you have the reader believing, truly believing in your scene, invested in it emotionally, then you can throw as many cliches in there as you like and the reader would never notice. I remember there was a book once and I spotted the cliche from a mile off, but heck, I didn't care. Didn't care one bit, because I just wanted the story to be resolved. Now if I can just remember which story that was... lol.

    Anyway, my point stands. Readers don't care whether it's cliche or not. Just write a good scene. Cliches are basically popular devices used badly.
     
  4. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    Ever thought of just letting a character say their last words without having to be prompted to say them?
     
  5. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Any last words" is not a cliche. It (or similar variations thereof) is in the job description. Saying it's cliche for an executioner to seek the last words of the accused is like saying it's cliche for a lawyer to say "objection," or a chef to wear a tall white hat, or for a checkered flag to wave at the end of a race.

    The whole "is this cliche" thing is getting out of hand, guys. Please stop. :(
     
  6. Anthony Martin
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    Anthony Martin Active Member

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    I like the idea of avoiding the need for this phrase (or a variant thereof) by design. You could do as [MENTION=52325]blackstar21595[/MENTION] suggests; you could write the scene so that the execution happens without dialogue; or you could leave it as "Any last words?". If you go the latter route, just make sure to write it well to appease the [MENTION=6057]AnonyMouse[/MENTION]- and [MENTION=23298]Mckk[/MENTION]-side of the "what is cliche" discourse.
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    The answer depends on too many variables. Is it sarcastic? Is it kind? Is he asking for a confession where the bodies are? Is it just an intro into the character's last words?
     
  8. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    Wow such wisdom in this one thread! I greatly appreciate all of your feedback. I never even considered that cliche is not inherently a bad thing.
     
  9. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    GingerCoffee, it is just the end of a long battle and one character is about to be executed. I used to love how in Assassin's Creed when Altair would kill the target they would willfully give information, as if it released their soul...I am not giving information in this scene..it is more like a repentance.
     
  10. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If it happens in a fantasy setting, it might not be the custom of your world/country to ask "any last words?". The executioner might say "this is your last chance to secure a safe passage to the fields of Xrygk. So, Mr. Wobdybum, do you repent?"

    I didn't even know this was an actual custom like for lawyers to object in court...
     
  11. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    I like that a lot Katrian...this website is amazing
     
  12. Ray West
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    Ray West Member

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    You could also appropriate the 'speak now or forever hold your peace' thing...
     
  13. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Lol, and at weddings they ask "any last words?"
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    "Don't bother praying. You are about to speak to your God in person."
     

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