1. JTheGreat
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    JTheGreat Contributing Member

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    Arc Words: Are Viewers Geniuses?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by JTheGreat, Jun 2, 2011.

    In my upcoming story I'm planning on having some of the "dramatic" dialog link back to exchanges in the first scene.

    One of the lines is repeated throughout the story, so I'm not worried about that one, but one of them is only said twice: Once near the beginning of the story and once at the end.

    My question is, should I explicitly state that those lines were repeated from that scene, or should I let the readers make the connection?
     
  2. Sundae
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    Sundae Contributing Member

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    If you as an author do your job right, the reader WILL make the connection on their own. Avoid making the connection for them, but instead do provide clues and proper build up through out your story so that when that line repeats again, it's like this light bulb moment for the readers where it all makes sense.

    There are a lot of things to take into consideration really when wanting to do something like this. But first, are those lines you are wanting to repeat profound enough to stand out to the reader so that when they see it again, they're able to realize that this was said somewhere before?
     
  3. AltonReed
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    AltonReed Active Member

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    It's like re-reading a mystery novel, you notice the clues that you might not have seen previously!
     
  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Sundae is correct, and I would add this: if you "make the connection" for the reader, then you lose whatever dramatic effect you might have gained by using the device in the first place. Sort of like having to explain the punchline of a joke - if you have to do it, it's no longer funny.
     
  5. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I definitely agree -- the best part about what you're doing is that the reader will make the connection. Explicitly pointing it out sort of ruins the effect.
     
  6. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    Second that. Readers don't want to be patronised, and they don't want to seem that much clever than the writer either. In a way they want a story they don't believe they could have imagined. Or that's what I always want anyway. Good Luck. :)
     
  7. JTheGreat
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    JTheGreat Contributing Member

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    One of them is the line, "I won't let anything happen to you." It isn't profound, but it outlines the deepness and sincerity of the friendship between two of the main characters. I'm planning on it being the first line in the story, and repeated in one of the rising-action scenes.

    The other is the line, "I'll be happy to teach you." Again, not anything motif-ish or ingenious, but it's quirky and cute, I guess. It's said in one of the first few scenes, and it'll be the last line.

    If you're wondering, the two lines are because of the first scene centers around the male protagonist teaching the female protagonist how to ride a bike. She doesn't get around much :p.
     
  8. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    It's good to build meaning by repeating themes and ideas, but it can also be tricky. The direct repetition of a line of prose or dialog can often be lost. I've seen this happen more times than not, where in workshops the writer has to explain how that same line was also on page 3.

    Repetition of themes and ideas can of course be aided by repeated lines of prose or dialog, but it's risky relying on the explicit memory of a reader and better to make sure you're working on deeper levels, to bring about an emotional sort of familiarity with themes, not just a cognitive recognition of them, if that makes sense.
     
  9. Greendog
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    Greendog Member

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    I agree with what popsicledeath said. Maybe don't try repeating the exact phrase, but use some recurring theme.

    You could try putting the line on the page in a really obvious fashion, like one line without belonging to any paragraph in the middle of the page.
     
  10. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    The thing that strikes me about the two lines is that there's nothing outstanding about them. Nothing that strikes out at the reader and says - read me, I'm important. Now maybe the rest of the text around them builds them up, but if not I think readers would miss them. I think you need something to make them stand out to the reader when they're first read - maybe an odd choice of word or turn of phrase, an emphasis somewhere.

    Consider the Doctor Who arc words that kept popping up in one of the series - Bad Wolf. Now partly they stood out because the were given air time and proper music and build up etc. But also because they make no sense. They turn up in all sorts of places, and seemingly relate to absolutely nothing. They jar with the rest of the story and because of that the viewer remembered them. I think you have to do the same.

    Cheers.
     

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