1. BonanzaFan2011
    Offline

    BonanzaFan2011 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0

    Different Way

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by BonanzaFan2011, Jun 13, 2011.

    Hi all. Im running out of ideas on saying when someone asks someone something for example: Ben asks
    Ben questions
    Ben queries
    Ben responds

    Does any one have any other ways of asking? Grateful for any help. Thank you.
     
  2. JimFlagg
    Offline

    JimFlagg Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Messages:
    375
    Likes Received:
    6
    Interviews
    Interrogates
    Demands

    And so on.
     
  3. Diablo Robotico
    Offline

    Diablo Robotico Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    3
    Certain words, such as "said" or "asked", blend into the text better because readers are used to them. You don't have to keep searching for an original word every time, and if you start using uncommon words, a reader will notice and it will take them out of the story. If I saw that a writer said "Ben queried" instead of "Ben asked", I would wonder why he or she chose such an uncommon word, when a simple one exists.

    There are times for unique language, but in this situation I think it's better to be simple.
     
  4. wolfi
    Offline

    wolfi Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Messages:
    291
    Likes Received:
    3
    I don't agree with what you said 100%, while true I think you miss the real point, keep in mind this is what I noticed form reading and you might not see it.
    Anyways what I see is if you read most books its not "he said" or "he asked" all the time, sure they say them but you notice what they do is this
    "Why would you do something like that?" Ben asked puzzled.
    "Because I couldn't just stand there and do nothing!" Ray shouted at the top of his lungs.
    "But was it worth it?" Ben asked him under his breath.
    Even tough "asked" is in there the fact that you add more to it makes it seem like its in there less.(I know there is a term for them but I was never good at remember the names of them) The way I see it is like with words you focus on the first and the last part. I'd guess that its the same with sentences if you don't end it with asked a lot you should be ok, but at the same time if half a page is "asked" then you know something is wrong.
     
  5. JimFlagg
    Offline

    JimFlagg Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Messages:
    375
    Likes Received:
    6
    I agree. You need the Said and Asked to tie the tag with the quote. It's what you say in the tag that changes things up. I usually do not worry about this stuff because it will come out in the editing phase.

    P.S. if you just want different ways to say, "Asked" then I would simply use a thesaurus.
     
  6. minstrel
    Online

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,723
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    You don't have to do all that. It works better if you do much less. Look at any well-written book, and you'll see how. In your example above, you could start the scene by establishing that both Ben and Ray are in the room, and then the dialogue could go:

    "Why would you do something like that?" Ben asked.
    "Because I couldn't just stand there and do nothing!"
    "But was it worth it?"

    Notice how the second and third lines don't have dialogue tags at all - they don't need them. The reader knows who is speaking. The reader can even infer the tone of voice. Leave dialogue tags off when they're not absolutely necessary. (The first one is necessary here to establish which character starts the conversation.) This allows you to not worry about coming up with synonyms for words like "asked" or "said", and your work will be cleaner and more readable.
     
  7. BonanzaFan2011
    Offline

    BonanzaFan2011 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for this, this is what Im needing as I would find it quite boring using just asked or he said I have to find words like you said like "ben asked puzzled" thank you everyone for the help much appreciated.
     
  8. Trish
    Offline

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    I think I have to agree (and disagree) with both of you to an extent. If there is a question mark after a sentence I think your reader is smart enough to figure out that a question was asked. If an exclamation point follows a sentence I think your reader is also smart enough to know that something was exclaimed or shouted. It's everything else you need to create a picture with. Using wolfi's example....

    "Why would you do something like that?" Ben stared hard at Ray, eyebrows lifted, trying hard to understand.
    "Because I couldn't just stand there and do nothing!" Ray's fists clenched at his sides and his face turned a mottled red. He couldn't look Ben in the eye and kicked at the dirt under his scuffed boots instead.
    "But was it worth it?" Ben's voice was so quiet Ray almost didn't hear him.

    If you do have to state the obvious, state it in a way that is so common no one thinks twice about it. Don't strain your brain and use words like queried where they just don't belong.
     
  9. wolfi
    Offline

    wolfi Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Messages:
    291
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trish said what I was saying 2,000 times better
     
  10. thesims
    Offline

    thesims Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    1
    Ben inquired :) oh and I fully agree with Trish!
     
  11. katica
    Offline

    katica Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2009
    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    11
    I agree with Trish.

    Google "said bookisms." This is actually important if you want to impress professional agents and publishers.
     
  12. Sundae
    Offline

    Sundae Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Messages:
    362
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Astral Weeks
    Practice. It's a play on balance really. The more you write, the more you'll learn on how to differently pose a question - but even better - the more you'll learn on knowing which forms are better at the appropriate times.

    I could provide a whole list of different ways you can pose a question but it won't be helpful to be honest because it's not just about asking a question in a different way, it's understanding the context of your paragraphs and instinctively knowing why one form is better over the other.

    And that comes with practice.

    You've hit the first block. You know that you're running out of the ways of asking a question - but ask yourself, are those ways still the same sentence just with different words?

    So far, the answer seems to be yes.

    He queried
    He asked
    He questioned

    Now your job is to learn to construct sentences differently so that it's not the same sentence just with different verbs. The more you diversify yourself in learning how to construct a sentence in different ways that essentially do the same job, the better suited you'll be to not only change what you don't like, but you will also have a distinct direction to go towards since you understand exactly what it is you're trying to avoid and why.
     
  13. BonanzaFan2011
    Offline

    BonanzaFan2011 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you so much to sink in :)
     
  14. Trish
    Offline

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    You're welcome. Hope it helps :) Good luck!
     
  15. popsicledeath
    Offline

    popsicledeath Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Messages:
    1,037
    Likes Received:
    71
    I find a question mark usually does the trick.
     
    1 person likes this.
  16. JimFlagg
    Offline

    JimFlagg Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Messages:
    375
    Likes Received:
    6
    LOL, some times I have give you props for being a smart bottom. :p
     
  17. Steerpike
    Offline

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,059
    Likes Received:
    5,264
    Location:
    California, US
    Get rid of the tag entirely if you can. If you need a tag, use "said" or "asked" the vast majority of the time. Repeatedly using something else makes the writing come across as amateurish. Save the other tags for when they are really necessary to convey something to the reader that he won't pick up on by using the generic tag or no tag at all.
     
  18. popsicledeath
    Offline

    popsicledeath Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Messages:
    1,037
    Likes Received:
    71
    I was dead serious, though. Okay, not dead serious... more like undead serious. And sparkling.

    People try to find ways to tag their dialog, when often the dialog simply needs punctuation. That's what punctuation is there for.

    "Know what I mean?" he asked, as was indicated by the question mark. ;)

    "Yes, I do," he answered, as was indicated by the fact a question was just asked and now a new character is clearly answering it as indicated by the fact it's dialog that is answering a question.

    "Eureka!" he exclaimed. Twice, in fact.


    Sometimes it's best to let the punctuation (periods, question marks, dialog tags, etc) do their job. If it's simply not clear who may be talking, then the occasional 'he said' or 'he asked' works fine in an unobtrusive way. If you need to cite who's speaking so often those basic tags get annoying, then the dialog needs re-imagined, usually. Helps to use actions to set up a speaker, and trim out unnecessary exposition so there's a natural flow and we aren't losing our place in the conversation because the writer decided to go on for two paragraphs about irrelevant history.
     
  19. psychotick
    Offline

    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,371
    Likes Received:
    307
    Location:
    Rotorua, New Zealand
    Hi,

    I agree with the others, often less is more. Reading he said too many times becomes annoying. Often you can do much of the conversation without any sort of tag at all. At other times you can throw in a completely different sentence which suggests the he asked but doesn't say it. For example;

    "But why?" Ben looked quizzically at her.

    I don't really like the thesaurus approach because too often it ends up looking strained, and sometimes it ends up looking as though the writers trying to impress with vocab.

    Its really about balance.

    Cheers.
     
  20. BonanzaFan2011
    Offline

    BonanzaFan2011 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    One other thing.. if it's two people talking do I have to keep saying said ben or asked Joe as the reader will know who is speaking.
     
  21. VM80
    Offline

    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2010
    Messages:
    1,211
    Likes Received:
    43
    Location:
    UK
    Nope, not at all. See Minstrel's post which explains it best.

    I like the back and forth of fast-moving dialogue, so I avoid all this 'he said, she said' whenever I can.
     
  22. Trish
    Offline

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    As VM80 and Minstrel have pointed out, no. You can drop the names once the flow of dialogue between two people is established. The only reason I used them in my revision of wolfi's example was because it wasn't mine so I didn't know if there were theoretically other people there and I was trying to show how you can flesh out dialogue with some action, show emotions, and refrain from stating the obvious. Not the greatest example on earth, but I think it gets the point across.
     
  23. BonanzaFan2011
    Offline

    BonanzaFan2011 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Cool thanks Guys that's what I was doing :) not saying asked ben or asked joe if its only the two talking.
     

Share This Page