1. Aaron DC
    Offline

    Aaron DC Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,554
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    Location:
    At my keyboard

    Capitals for shouting

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Aaron DC, Jun 11, 2015.

    So we have the italics for thoughts thread(s). I checked the capitals threads but they were asking different things.

    I am contemplating an ongoing interrogation, and one of the interrogators is going to raise their voice at different times.

    Is it too obvious to use all caps for the raised voice? I think I would prefer to do that vs "she shouted" or other, similar volume cues.

    Alas I do not have any ready examples of shouting in novels I have read coming to mind, so examples or experience, etc would be appreciated.
     
  2. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,352
    Likes Received:
    2,896
    Location:
    Boston
    Using a simple "she shouted" tag is the best way to go. Capitalizing words is too gimmicky, and editors (and probably most readers) aren't going to like it.
     
  3. RachHP
    Offline

    RachHP Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2015
    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    158
    Location:
    England
    If that's what you want to do: do it.
    I hate people who use caps locks in text messages to sound persuasive, but if you find a decent font and use it sparingly then it wouldn't bother me as a reader. Terry Pratchett used caps-lock for all the speech relating to 'Death' which I expected to find annoying, but grew to love!
     
  4. Aaron DC
    Offline

    Aaron DC Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,554
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    Location:
    At my keyboard
    Thanks Rach - I was hoping someone would provide an example, much appreciated.
     
    RachHP likes this.
  5. Aaron DC
    Offline

    Aaron DC Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,554
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    Location:
    At my keyboard
    I have a couple of beta readers lined up. Do you think it's enough to rely on their appraisal with things like this? I envisage 1 or maybe 2 sentences at the most, at the peak of a tense interaction.
     
  6. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,529
    Likes Received:
    1,356
    I'm with @thirdwind , stick with he shouted. You can grade the volume with he raised his voice a little, or, he lowered his voice to a threatening whisper, etc. ESPECIALLY if it's only going to be a couple of lines of shouting.
     
  7. Aaron DC
    Offline

    Aaron DC Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,554
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    Location:
    At my keyboard
    She whispered menacingly ;)
     
    Cry Wolf and Shadowfax like this.
  8. Laura Elisabeth
    Offline

    Laura Elisabeth Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2016
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    3
    Could you use the atmosphere, or some more complex way of inferring that she shouted?

    I'm not sure about the context, but you may be able to say something along the lines of 'the air crackled with tension, their voice piercing it', or 'the boom of her voice echoed in the taught silence'.

    I don't know though! Do what feels right to you.
     
  9. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,605
    Likes Received:
    5,879
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    You don't need to say, "she shouted". You can, and you can use caps but I don't think either is necessary or preferred. Show us the character is shouting by using the whole scene.

    The door slammed jarring me. I cringed as the barrage started.
    "What the hell do you think you're doing?"
    You want to use the whole scene not only the shouting. See how is reads if you only use a tag:

    "What the hell do you think you are doing?" she shouted.​

    If you add the rest of the scene you don't need the tag. If you don't add the rest of the scene, it's flat.

     
    edamame and Wayjor Frippery like this.
  10. edamame
    Offline

    edamame Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2013
    Messages:
    794
    Likes Received:
    385
    I think capitals for shouting would be hilarious, but they would detract from the rest of the book since the format is unusual. It wouldn't work if a character was discussing a serious matter and wanted it to come across that way (i.e. "I HAVE A LIFE THREATENING ILLNESS!").

    Like others, I think setting dialogue using context would be better.
     
    BayView likes this.
  11. KaTrian
    Offline

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    5,566
    Likes Received:
    3,563
    Location:
    The Great Swamp
    You see caps every now and then, but at least I've always avoided them. I guess there hasn't been that much need for them as an exclamation mark, a tag or the words can help your reader "hear" the character is shouting. But if used sparingly, it's probably fine. Your future editor will have the final say, I suppose?
     
  12. Martin515
    Offline

    Martin515 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2016
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    7
    I've recently been working on an interrogation scene and this is a tricky one.

    I always think he shouted sounds a little juvenile for some reason, think there are more interesting verbs a good writer could use that also convey tone as well as volume. i.e. he boomed (loud but friendly) / he barked (shouting orders) / he roared (with rage), etc.

    I've recently written another scene with a heavyset blacksmith who is partially deaf (obviously), and hence speaks loudly even when he's not shouting in anger. I introduce him as follows, to set to tone of his dialogue going forward, then I don't need to say he shouted every time.

     
  13. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    Interesting suggestion. Sometimes I worry I'm guilty of using adverbs more than I should. These kind of post make fe feel a bit uneasy. Where is the line?
     
  14. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,605
    Likes Received:
    5,879
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    The better you get at making the scene speak, the worse tags like boomed, barked, roared, and shouted, look on the page.

    As for adverbs, the rule of thumb is use a stronger verb if you can find one. If not, throw an adverb or two in, no worries.
     
  15. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,605
    Likes Received:
    5,879
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    There's a difference between a narrative description and a dialogue tag. Used as narrative these would be fine.

    I would take the redundancies out of your sentence and fix the pronoun antecedents.

    Tomas was trying to reason with a much louder man. His words hit Tomas like hammer blows; his spittle stung like sparks from an anvil.
    The antecedent to 'his' is 'the louder man'. I took 'face' out because it didn't add anything and I changed 'flew' to 'stung' to better match your analogy. Adding 'flinched' is fine but I couldn't put it in without causing a problem with the pronoun antecedents. You could keep it in if you fix the antecedents.

    Tomas was trying to reason with a much louder man. Tomas flinched as the man's words hit like hammer blows and his spittle stung like sparks from an anvil.

    He was trying to reason with a much louder man. Tomas flinched as the man's words hit like hammer blows and his spittle stung like sparks from an anvil.
    In your passage it might be obvious who you meant by 'his', and it can be tedious to insert 'the louder man' and 'Tomas' in place of the pronouns. But if you don't get in the habit of watching those pronoun antecedents, you will confuse the reader.



     
  16. Martin515
    Offline

    Martin515 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2016
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    7
    Thanks for the feedback GingerCoffee, looking at it now I can see the potential confusion.

    Re. dialogue tags, I did a few internet searches and there's a fair bit of discussion on this, with many believing that "said" and "asked" are they only tags you'll ever need, as they are "invisible."

    I guess we're all different, but for me personally, as a reader, I am more likely to be jarred by recurring "said"s than an uncommon descriptive tag. Though I do see the argument for using them sparingly.
     
  17. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,605
    Likes Received:
    5,879
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    I'm not a strict, 'said/asked only' writer. I've noticed in a lot of books I read they don't stick to those two tags. But I do tend to rely on the scene more than the tags and if I use something besides 'said/asked' I do it when I see a purpose. For example I use 'whispered' or 'mumbled' on occasion because those are harder to show. But I'm just as inclined to say,
    "blah blah," she said, barely above a whisper,​
    or,
    "blah blah," she said, not loud enough to be heard,​
    things like that.

    When I see a writer using varying tags the way I use the thesaurus to find nouns and adjectives, I don't think that works.
     
  18. Lorenzostales
    Offline

    Lorenzostales New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2016
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    3
    I agree with many of us, the best way is to simply write something like "he shouted" and then write as you normally would.
     
  19. Jeni
    Offline

    Jeni Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2016
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    43
    I may be new old school (pardon the oxymoron) but all caps is still taboo in online speech. It indicates rudeness and often leads to hostile speech causing nearly everyone's irritation. Maybe consider using a tag and something in the environment: Tom, the interrogator, yelled, "Tell me what you know," so loudly that Louis, the criminal could feel the table vibrate with the onslaught of Tom's anger.
    or
    The heat of Tom's anger was palpable as he yelled,.........
    Just my take on the subject.
     
  20. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,222
    Likes Received:
    4,227
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    This reminds me of the fifth Harry Potter book where much of Harry's interaction with Dumbledore toward the end was filled with CAPS LOCK BECAUSE WE WANT TO KNOW HOW ANGRY HE IS!!

    But seriously, just end it with ‘shouted’ or something else like...

    snarl
    scream
    hiss quietly
    screeched
    shrieked
    howl
    roar
    growl
    bark
    seethed
    ???

    ...and generally people will know that the person is shouting.
     

Share This Page