1. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    Could you help me construct this sentence

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by S-wo, Jan 27, 2009.

    I took a look today at my old book and noticed something terrible. Some awful dialogue that I didn't notice until now, seemed awful and awkward.
    I have now preceded to the moment where I'm describing the start of the fight.

    It goes a little something like this.

    Andrew stands staring at Carol with his arms wide and a (blank) as she sits them on a nearby table and stomps up to Andrew.

    What I'm trying to describe here is that a girl is marching up to my character and about to knock his lights out and as she approaches him the man looks at her as if he's saying "Please you ain't going to do nuthin'", but I don't want to exactly say those words. I appreciate any help that I can get.
     
  2. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you may be trying to get too much information into one sentence. Try breaking it up into shorter sentences. This is important in scenes where high emotion or action occurs.

    Also, try getting his attitude across with dialogue as well as body language. I know I'm not really giving you an example of what I would write, but it would probably be better if you tried it in your own way first. I don't really have enough insight into your characters to come up with something on the spot.

    Hope this helps?
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm with garmar in this. Simplify it by breaking it down into individual actions.
     
  4. Leo
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    Leo Senior Member

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    Shorter sentences have a faster pace too, which suits a fight scene better.
     
  5. Diet Aether
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    Diet Aether Member

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    I'm with Leo on that 'un. I'd like to see you take the sentence and expand it into a paragraph, decide which parts of the paragraph you can do with out and re-compress it into a more comfortable middle ground.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto all that!... you can't cram all of that into a single sentence and do any of it justice... as for the unfortunate mess of a sentence, here's one way it could at least be made to make some sense [i abhor present tense, as most readers do... why are you writing in it, instead of past?]:

    i couldn't imagine what you meant by that [blank] so just made something up... anyway, that's one way you could get that all into one sentence... but as advised by all above, you'd do better to divvy it up and clarify for the reader all that's going on... and why... hope this helps...

    love and hugs, maia
     
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  7. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    What I'm basically asking is something to describe this "Please you ain't going to do nuthin'" in context of description of how he is looking while she approaches him. I put blank there because it's a blank as nothing was there before.
     
  8. Mcarpenter
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    Mcarpenter Contributing Member

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    Amused, Andrew scoffed as Carol threw him a look of fury and charged toward him, intent on pounding the daylights out of him.

    Smug and smirk are good words too. 'His face was smug.' or 'he had a smirk on his face.'
     
  9. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    trust mom on it, friends! She's wise and won't lead you wrong. I'm learning that first-hand:)
     
  10. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Please, you ain’t gonna do nothin’, will be hard to pull off with out just saying that. What is the problem with just saying it?

    Carol’s face burned as she slammed her books down on the bench. She stomped over to Andrew ready to mess him up. He held his arms out and had the kind of smirk on his face that said, “Please, you ain’t gonna do nothin’.”

    Written from Carol’s POV.
     
  11. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    In this situation I would use dialogue to convey the same emotion because they are equally powerful and, sometimes, even more effective than visual actions. In fact, dialogues can illicit great amount of personality and character, within broader strokes, and help the readers relate to the situation, then actually trying to describe miniscule, trivial details, which, if written too long, can bore the readers.

    For example, if a person came up to me, chest bared, jabbing his chest with pronated fingers, wanting to get it on, and sling some mud, I wouldn't say: "Please you ain't going to do nuthin."

    I'd just say four words--"I F**KING DARE YOU."

    Something along the lines: "Lay one finger on me--I ****ing DARE YOU."
     
  12. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    With four words I've created tension, which ultimately leads to suspense.

    Conflict is the most important thing in drawing the readers and making them turn the pages in a reflex-like motion.
     
  13. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    But wouldn't this guy say something like, "What you gonna do?" Or "What are you gonna do?" or "What the hell you gonna do?" etc.

    Those words seem to convey the look, please, you ain't gonna do nothin', more so than, "Bring it," or "I f***ing dare you."

    Yes or no?
     
  14. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    What is this? Ghetto-talk?

    Don't tell me he's writing this story for the hood.

    "Please you ain't going to do nuthin." reeks of cliche. Yours reeks of banality. But when you hear a man say to a woman whose about to hit him, "I dare you" in a calm, low voice, what kind of image conjures up in your brain?

    This is where the suspense kicks in. Would a man hit a woman? I mean, how far would he go? Can he kill her in a back alleyway when no one's looking by doing a chokehold?

    What would he do if she didn't obey his threat? This is what matters most to the reader: what's going to happen next--not, what just happened now, a few seconds ago. The subtext; the connotation; the intent of the implied reference; NOT "please you ain't going to do nothing," because you KNOW she's going to do something with that type of lackluster exposition.
     
  15. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I understand all that. My question was about what he should say to paint the image that he looks like, you ain't gonna do nothin'. The poster used that phrase, so I imagine Andrew is a little ghetto.

    He wants Andrew to have the look of, you ain't gonna do nothin'. If Andrew said, "I f***ing dare you," does that paint the desired look? "Man, what are you going to do?" Something like that better paints the desired look the poster wants Andrew to have. In my opinion, at least.

    Both paint the image using subtext, so that is not the issue.
     
  16. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    It depends on the context. If Andrew's relationship with the girl is a short-term relationship, I can definitely hear him saying, "What are you gonna do?" But, if they're married and have been living together for a long time, and about to kick the living daylights out of each other "I dare you," would be better.

    So yes; it is your opinion--as well is my input. Let me be entitled to my input--my own opinion. I have a right to speak just as you do. I do not understand why you think you're better than everyone else. Think outside the box. Don't stereotype the hood.

    People can form coherent sentences like "I dare you," in the ghetto. Even gangsters have moment of sublime monologues, regardless of how grammatical incorrect their structures are.
     
  17. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I didn’t mean to offend you, sorry. I was merely asking a question, and offering another POV. I don’t believe I am better than you, unless we are talking about at playing Commando 3 on the Xbox 360, :p

    I wasn’t trying to say that Andrew needs to speak ghetto. “I dare you,’ or “I f***ing dare you,” work well. I was trying to think of what might Andrew say to better paint the image that he has the look on his face, please you ain’t gonna do nothin’.

    The best I could come up with was, “Man, what are you gonna do?”

    Or, “Please, girl.” “Oh, c’mon.”

    Just trying to help out is all. Again, I am sorry if I offended you, or came off as if I were challenging you in any way.
     
  18. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    Nah, man. If I saw something that wasn't there in your post, then it's my fault.

    Don't worry. I was in no way offended... my blood was boiling. :redface:

    I think it was that yes or no line that spiked my pulse through the roof.
     
  19. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    I agree with Arch in this instance. What YOU said was fine and makes sense, but you were consciously changing the context of the sentence because you felt that 'please, you aint gonna do nothin'' is cliche'.

    Also, why are we getting GHETTO out of this? I was thinking, "Unlearned brute," like something you would see in Pokemon or a Macgyver episode.

    I suppose it's all in the accent, which could only be conveyed via the story.
     

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